John E. Van Sant. Associate Professor
(205) 975-6520
Heritage Hall 360C

Research and Teaching Interests: East Asia, primarily Japan and China; World History

Office Hours: Tu/Th 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (and by appointment)


  • BA, University of California-Davis, 1983
  • MA, University of California-Davis, 1986
  • PhD, University of Oregon, 1996

Dr. John Van Sant joined the Department of History at UAB in the Fall of 2000. He has presented several papers on his research at regional, national, and international history and Asian studies conferences. His research is primarily on the political, ideological, and cultural changes in Japan during the nineteenth century. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Japan and China, plus World history undergraduate courses. Dr. Van Sant also works with the Advanced Placement World History program, and is a Board member of the Japan America Society of Alabama.

Recent Courses

  • Japanese history
  • Chinese history
  • The Pacific War
  • World history
  • The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1975

Select Publications



  • “Bakumatsu Beginnings: Tempō and the Road to Meiji,” Japan Studies Association Journal 13 (2015).
  • "Rangaku Medicine and Foreign Knowledge in Late Tokugawa Japan," Southeast Asia Review of Asian Studies 34 (2012).
  • "Sakuma Shozan's Hegalian Vision for Japan," Asian Philosophy 14 (2004).

Academic Distinctions & Professional Memberships

  • UAB Frederick Conner Prize in the History of Ideas, 2003
  • College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for research, 2012
  • Graduate School Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentorship, 2011
  • Fulbright Award for Japan, 2004
  • Asian Studies Development Program Award from the East-West Center in Hawaii
  • Association for Asian Studies
  • World History Association
  • American Historical Association
  • Japan America Society of Alabama, board member