BA, Colorado College; MIA, Columbia University; Ph.D., American University
Dr. Henning's teaching and research interests focus on the history of US foreign relations and modern Japan, particularly on the influence of cultural constructs such as race, religion, and gender in relations between state and non-state actors. His course topics include US-Japanese relations, early and modern US foreign relations, terrorism and war, 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. He concentrates on the early decades of US-Japanese relations, from the Perry Expedition through the Meiji Period.
His book Outposts of Civilization: Race, Religion, and the Formative Years of American-Japanese Relations won the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and was published also in a Japanese translation.
Dr. Henning’s current project is Interpreting the Mikado’s Empire: The Writings of William Elliot Griffis (Lexington Books, spring 2021). Griffis, an authority on Meiji Japan, was unequalled in the length of his career and the breadth of his literary work. This book brings together for the first time his best writing.
In 2019, Dr. Henning published “‘Very Beautiful Heathenism’: The Light of Asia in Gilded Age America” in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations. In 2018, he contributed three entries on early US-Japanese relations to The Encyclopedia of Diplomacy: “Matthew Perry (1794-1858),” the “Treaty of Kanagawa (1854),” and the “US-Japan Commercial Treaty (1858).”
After spending his undergraduate junior year at Waseda University (Tokyo), Dr. Henning earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Colorado College. While studying for his master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, he worked as a production assistant during a summer internship at CNN’s Tokyo Bureau. After completing his master's, he worked in the US House of Representatives as a legislative assistant. He earned his doctorate in history from American University, studying under Dr. Robert L. Beisner and Dr. Anna K. Nelson.
Before joining RIT's Department of History in 2004, Dr. Henning taught at Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, Pennsylvania) and served as a Fulbright Scholar on the Faculty of Arts and Letters and the Faculty of Law at Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan).