Dr. Henning’s teaching and research interests focus on the history of U.S. foreign relations and modern Japan, particularly on the influence of cultural constructs such as race, religion, and gender in relations between both state and non-state actors. His course topics include early and modern U.S. foreign relations, the Vietnam War, terrorism and war, U.S.-Japanese relations, and Japanese fiction and film. His research examines how American ideologies of race, religion, and gender have shaped and been shaped by American encounters with Japan and East Asia. In the case of Japan, Dr. Henning concentrates on the early decades of its relations with the United States, from the Perry Expedition through the Meiji Period.
He earned his B.A. (sociology) from Colorado College and his M.I.A. (international affairs) from Columbia University. As an undergraduate, he spent his junior year at Waseda University (Tokyo). After completing his master’s degree, he worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as a legislative assistant.
Dr. Henning earned his Ph.D. (history) from American University, studying under Dr. Robert L. Beisner and Dr. Anna K. Nelson. He is the author of Outposts of Civilization: Race, Religion, and the Formative Years of American-Japanese Relations, which won the Bernath Book Prize awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. The book also was translated and published in Japan.
Before joining RIT’s Department of History in 2004, Dr. Henning taught at Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, Pennsylvania) and served as a Fulbright Lecturer on the Faculty of Arts and Letters and the Faculty of Law at Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan).