Adam Cathcart, Ph.D., is a lecturer in Asian history at Queen’s University, Belfast and a tenured assistant professor of history at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. His teaching activity centers on modern China, the Korean War, and the history of Sino-Japanese relations. (Full CV here.)
His research and publication program falls into three broad categories:
1. China-North Korea relations, encompassing borderlands, the Korean War, North Korea in the late 1940s, cultural construction, and Chinese Koreans in Yanbian.
2. Sino-Japanese relations, with research on war crimes in the late 1930s, Chinese views of the U.S. occupation of Japan (1945-1952), anti-Japanese themes in the “Resist America, Aid Korea” movement, Cold War consciousness of Japanese bacteriological weapons research in Manchukuo, and policy toward rehabilitated Japanese war criminals in China in the 1950s.
3. East-West Cultural Relations is a broad category that includes multiple “one-off” article manuscripts on diverse topics, including China’s cultural diplomacy with France in the 1950s, Maoism in the early German Democratic Republic, German-Japanese cultural relations during the Second World War, East German cultural relations with North Korea in the 1950s, musical diplomacy in US-China relations in the 1970s, and North Korean musical diplomacy with the world since 2008.
A handful of Tibet-related research projects — as they involve culture clash of various kinds — are categorized here, as are transnational endeavors to serve as a channel for Western music in China (and Chinese music in the West) through the Amitayus Duo.
Professional Biography: Adam Cathcart earned his doctorate in contemporary East Asian history from Ohio University, where he focused on Cold War history and the international history of the Chinese civil war (1945-1950). His dissertation examined Chinese opposition to the U.S. occupation of Japan, and was written under the direction of Donald Jordan.
Cathcart subsequently joined the faculty at Hiram College, an eclectic liberal arts college near Cleveland, Ohio with an emphasis on innovative teaching and independent student research. At Hiram, Cathcart won several teaching awards, developed classes like “Music and War,” and taught writing seminars for first-year students. Through a competitive ASIANetwork-Freeman Foundation Student-Faculty Research Fellowship, he brought four students (two of whom are now in good Ph.D. programs in Chinese history) to Northeast China and Beijing for archival and field research.
In 2007, he took a post in the history department at Pacific Lutheran University, a larger private university in Tacoma, Washington, where he taught courses on World War II in East Asia, 20th century Tibet, and the history of the Chinese revolution. He has served as the site director of Pacific Lutheran University’s gateway program at Sichuan University (Chengdu, PRC) and advanced PLU’s mission of outreach into the Chinese world of higher education. He also interacted regularly and occasionally team-taught with the legendary Sidney Rittenberg.
In Northern Ireland in 2012-2013, he is teaching two Queen’s University courses regarding World War II in and the Cold War in Asia, contributing to a module concerning memories and histories of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).
In addition to his core teaching, Cathcart maintains an active research and public outreach program regarding China’s relations with North Korea. To this end, he serves as the editor-in-chief of a collaborative scholarly and web journal which he established immediately following Kim Jong-il’s death. Consequently, he has been interviewed by BBC, NPR, Huffington Post Live, and radio stations in Seoul, and quoted in the Wall Street Journal. His journalistic writing about North Korea and DPRK-China relations has been published in various venues such as The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Diplomat, The Daily NK, and South China Morning Post. His analysis is regularly featured on the website SINO-NK, where he works with several colleagues in generating substantive working papers about China’s relationship with North Korea and in documenting the DPRK border with China.
Cathcart reads and speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently, and works regularly in archival and contemporary sources in German, French, and Korean.
He is presently at work on a book manuscript concerning North Korean-Chinese relations and borderlands from 1945-1950, a project co-authored with Charles Kraus presently under review with the University of Washington Press in Seattle. In 2012, he gave presentations about the manuscript at SOAS (University of London), King’s College London, and University of Leiden.
Mailing address: Adam Cathcart, School of History and Anthropology, 15 University Square, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, United Kingdom (UK)