Joseph Henning Headshot

Joseph Henning

Associate Professor

Department of History
College of Liberal Arts
Program Director- History

585-475-2451
Office Location

Joseph Henning

Associate Professor

Department of History
College of Liberal Arts
Program Director- History

Education

BA, Colorado College; MIA, Columbia University; Ph.D., American University

Bio

Dr. Henning's teaching and research interests focus on the history of US foreign relations and modern Japan. His course topics include US-Japanese relations, early and modern US foreign relations, terrorism and war, and Japanese fiction and film. His most recent work, Interpreting the Mikado's Empire, brings together for the first time the best writings of William Elliot Griffis, an authority on Meiji Japan.

Dr. Henning’s book Outposts of Civilization, on early US-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. In 2019, Dr. Henning published “‘Very Beautiful Heathenism’: The Light of Asia in Gilded Age America” in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations.

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, PA) and served as a Fulbright Scholar on the Faculty of Arts and Letters and the Faculty of Law at Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan).

585-475-2451

Personal Links

Select Scholarship

Invited Keynote/Presentation
Henning, Joseph M. "Fukui and William Elliot Griffis's Career as an Expert on Japan." Griffis and Truth in Fukui: Public and Personal Perspectives. University of Fukui and Rutgers University. Fukui, Japan. 8 Jan. 2022. Conference Presentation.
Henning, Joseph M. "Defending the Samurai: Alice Mabel Bacon and Meiji Japan at War." New York Conference on Asian Studies. State University of New York, College at Brockport. Brockport, NY. 2 Oct. 2021. Conference Presentation.
Henning, Joseph M. "Buddhism, Poetry, and 'Paganism': 'The Light of Asia' in Gilded Age America." World History Association. Northeastern University. Boston, MA. 23 Jun. 2017. Conference Presentation.
Henning, Joseph M. "Buddhism, Poetry, and \'Paganism\': \'The Light of Asia\' in Gilded Age America." Translating Buddhism Conference. York St. John University, UK Association for Buddhist Studies. York, United Kingdom. 2 Jul. 2016. Conference Presentation.
Henning, Joseph M. "Constructing U.S.-Japanese Relations: William Elliot Griffis and Meiji Japan." New York Conference on Asian Studies. Vassar College. Poughkeepsie, NY. 16 Oct. 2015. Conference Presentation.
Henning, Joseph M. "Constructing U.S.-Japanese Relations: William Elliot Griffis and Meiji Japan." Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association. PCB-AHA. Portland, OR. 15 Aug. 2014. Conference Presentation.
Full Length Book
Henning, Joseph M. Interpreting the Mikado's Empire: The Writings of William Elliot Griffis. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021. Print.
Journal Paper
Henning, Joseph M. "'Very Beautiful Heathenism': 'The Light of Asia' in Gilded Age America." Journal of American-East Asian Relations 26. 1 (2019): 21-50. Print.
Published Review
Henning, Joseph M. Rev. of By More than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific since 1783, by Michael J. Green. Journal of American History Sep. 2019: 417. Print.
Henning, Joseph M. Rev. of Modernity and National Identity in the United States and East Asia, 1895-1919, by Carol C. Chin. International Security Studies Forum, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews 7 Jan. 2013: 5-8. Web.
Henning, Joseph M. Rev. of Grounds of Judgment: Extraterritoriality and Imperial Power in Nineteenth-Century China and Japan, by Par Kristoffer Cassel. Journal of American-East Asian Relations 2012: 348-350. Print.
Henning, Joseph M. Rev. of Pacific Cosmopolitans: A Cultural History of U.S.-Japan Relations, by Michael R. Auslin. Historian 2012: 382-383. Print.

Currently Teaching

HIST-250
3 Credits
This class analyzes the roots of U.S. foreign policy, beginning with the American Revolution and continuing through the Spanish-American War. It also examines the development of the United States from a small 18th century experiment in democracy into a late 19th century imperial power. Topics include foreign policy powers in the constitution, economic development, continental and overseas expansion, and Manifest Destiny.
HIST-251
3 Credits
This course examines the late 19th century emergence of the United States as an imperial power and its development into a 20th century superpower. Topics include U.S. politics and foreign policy, the influence of racial and cultural ideologies on policy, isolation, and intervention, the cold war, and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
HIST-252
3 Credits
This class examines the U.S.-Japanese relationship from the perspectives of diplomacy, economics, and culture. Fluctuating sharply during its 150 years, this relationship has featured gunboat diplomacy, racial conflict, war, and alliance. The course investigates U.S.-Japanese relations in the contexts of modernization, imperialism, World War II, the cold war, and the 21st century.
HIST-350
3 Credits
This course investigates the historical, political, moral, and legal dimensions of terrorism, intelligence, and war. It uses a case-study approach with themes that include just war theory, terrorism in the colonial and post-colonial worlds, domestic terrorism, and mechanisms of intelligence and covert operations.
HIST-450
3 Credits
An introduction to Japanese history, highlighting social and aesthetic traditions that have formed the foundations for Japanese literature and cinema. Explores how writers and directors have drawn on this heritage to depict historical experiences.

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