Joshua Howard received a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Oberlin College in 1988 and his Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998. The following year, he joined the History Department and the Croft Institute for International Studies at the University of Mississippi, specializing in modern Chinese history. Dr. Howard offers survey courses of late imperial and modern China, modern East Asia, and more specialized courses on contemporary China, the history of the Chinese revolutions, and US-China relations. At the Croft Institute, he has supervised numerous senior theses and welcomes advising students researching topics related to contemporary China.
His book publications include Composing for the Revolution: Nie Er and China's Sonic Nationalism (Hawai`i University Press, 2020) and Workers at War: Labor in China's Arsenals, 1937-1953 (Stanford University Press, 2004). Composing for the Revolution focuses on the radical song writer Nie Er's involvement in the proletarian arts movement of the 1930s and the political uses of his commemoration and music. Workers at War examines the process of class formation in the Nationalist wartime capital of Chongqing. In addition Dr. Howard has published a dozen book chapters and articles on topics ranging from child labor to song movements.
Dr. Howard has been the recipient of several fellowships including a Fulbright (2007-08) to the People's Republic of China and has been a visiting scholar/researcher at Nanjing University and the Central Conservatory of Music.
Dr. Howard was recently selected a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies during the 2019-20 academic year. He is pursuing two long-term projects: a social history of Nanjing city under the collaborationist regime of Wang Jingwei and a study of the Communist press and its working-class readership in Nationalist China during the 1940s.
Inst 203 introduces students to important social, economic, political and cultural issues facing contemporary East Asia. Although I will emphasize post-WWII developments, an understanding of the traditions and historical roots of these societies are essential to learn about East Asia and its future prospects. How people in China and Japan have dealt with the legacies of colonialism, war, and revolution will be one overarching theme for this course. In addition we will examine some of the causes and consequences of East Asia’s economic “miracles.” Using a multidisciplinary approach, we will examine several important historical turning points, such as the Opium War, the Meiji Restoration and the Second World War, and then proceed to a contemporary survey of key issues confronting East Asia. We focus the last unit of the class on East Asia in the context of international relations. Course requirements include active class participation, three short papers, one presentation, midterm and final exam.
The course has several goals: to develop greater understanding of one of the world’s most important regions; to examine societies with very different values and attitudes from ours so as to generate cross-cultural understanding and broaden intellectual horizons; and to promote an increased ability to think, analyze and write. All that is required is an open mind and willingness to learn about other peoples and cultures. You are reminded of the wisdom of Confucius: “learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is intellectual death.”
In the thirty years since Deng Xiaoping launched the "reform and opening up" (gaige kaifang) policies, China has witnessed rapid and far-reaching economic growth, a divorce between the Chinese Communist Party and China's legacy of socialist revolution, and equally profound social change. Using both an historical perspective and interdisciplinary approaches, this course examines the implications of these changes for Chinese society. We will consider issues such as China’s environmental crisis, the growth of regional and income inequality, ethnicity and identity, the effects of the market reforms on different social strata - peasants, workers, intellectuals and entrepreneurs - as well as the various forms of social activism that have arisen in response to China's transition from socialism. I hope that by a combination of lectures, readings from a variety of social science disciplines, and visual materials, each student will gain at least a fundamental understanding of contemporary China. Students may also use the course as a springboard for their senior thesis.