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Associate Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Heritage Hall 360C
(205) 975-6520

Research and Teaching Interests: East Asia, primarily Japan and China; the United States in Asia; World History

Office Hours: Zoom by appointment


  • B.A., University of California-Davis, 1983
  • M.A., University of California-Davis, 1986
  • Ph.D., 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. He has authored one book and edited, co-edited, and co-authored three books. His articles and book reviews have been published in major journals such as the Journal of Japanese Studies, the American Historical Review, and the Journal of Asian Studies.

His research is primarily on the political, ideological, and cultural changes in Japan during the nineteenth century; and United States relations with Asia. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Japan, China, U.S. relations with Asia, and world history undergraduate courses. Van Sant also works with the Advanced Placement World History program and the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA). He is a 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
    • Japan Foundation Travel Grant, 2019
    • UAB College of Arts and Sciences, Dean’s Grant Award for the Humanities, 2018
    • 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
    • UAB Frederick Conner Prize in the History of Ideas, 2003
    • 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