Michael Jin, a recent graduate of the History department’s Ph.D. program, has accepted a position at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. His dissertation entitled, “Beyond Two Homelands: Migration and Transnationalism of Japanese Americans in the Pacific, 1930-1955,” was completed in the winter of 2013. Analyzing sources in the United States and Japan, the dissertation examines the transnational migration of 50,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry who traversed across multiple national and colonial borders in Asia-Pacific. By tracing the complex movements of this understudied group of U.S.-born transnational migrants, Michael’s work complicates linear and predictable notions about sending and receiving societies within the conventional understanding of U.S. immigration history and studies in diaspora.
In Michael’s research, transnationality is always a set of complex, varied, and historically grounded lived experiences rather than a metaphorical concept. He has accomplished this by conducting rigorous and critical analyses of sources in multiple geographical locations and languages that place the American experience beyond U.S. political and cultural boundaries. Michael’s research is consistently driven by his desire to push the limits of geographical and conceptual boundaries of area studies, ethnic studies, and the history of the American West.
As a lecturer in history and American Studies at UC Santa Cruz, Michael has designed and taught courses in Asian American/Pacific Islander history and comparative Asian and Pacific diasporas. While lecturing for the history department at UCSC, Michael was able to design and offer two new history courses entilted, “Asian and Asian American History, 1941-Present” and “The Pacific Rim: An American Western History.” He also taught Stevenson College Core Courses.
The interdisciplinary strength of Michael’s teaching and research was recognized by the University of California Pacific Rim Research Program, the Japan Foundation, and the Institute for Humanities Research at UC Santa Cruz, as they funded his visiting scholarship at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. In Japan he worked closely with scholars in both Asian studies and American studies from different institutions. He participated in an active working group sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to develop research and pedagogical frameworks that help bridge the gap between ethnic and area studies.