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Dr. Deborah Solomon

Department of History and Political Science

Assistant Professor


University of Michigan, PhD
University of California, BA

Modern Asia, with a focus on Japan and Korea

Research and Teaching Interests
I study modern Japanese and Korean history, specializing in the Japanese colonization of Korea prior to 1945. My book manuscript, Schooling Discontent: Education, Identity and Student Protest in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945, examines Japanese education on the Korean peninsula and the evolution of Korean student identity through the lens of colonial-era student protest. In this work, I demonstrate that it was during this era that students first began to forge an enduring understanding of their larger social significance— namely, that to be a modern student was to have not only the right but the obligation to critique, and in certain cases publicly resist, an unjust state. I am also completing a related article entitled “Print Technologies and Social Protest in Colonial Korea,” which examines how covert colonial-era social activist networks utilized newly imported print technology from Japan to resist Japanese rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Modern Asia, especially modern Japan and Korea

  • Imperialism/Colonialism

  • Education

  • Gender

  • Social Protest

  • Narrative and Film

  • Transnationalism, Diaspora and Identity

Selected Awards and Fellowships
  • US-Korea Scholar-Policymaker Nexus, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, Washington DC and Seoul, Republic of Korea. 2013-2014.

  • Korean Studies Research Grant, North East Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies, Ann Arbor MI, Summer 2011, Summer 2007.

  • Joint Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Korea Institute and Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies, Harvard University, 2009-2010.

  • Janey and Melvin Lack Graduate Student Research Fellowship, Eisenberg Institute of Historical Studies, University of Michigan, 2008-2009.

  • Korea Foundation Korean Studies Graduate Scholarship, 2000-2001, 2008-2009.

  • Center for Japanese Studies Mellon Foundation Fellowship, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2007 Summer.

  • Japan Education Exchange Graduate Fellowship, Kobe College Corporation, 2006-2007.

  • Fulbright Research Grant, Institute of International Education, U.S. Department of State, 2005-2006.

  • Language Grant, Blakemore Foundation. Korean, 2004-2005. Japanese, 2001-2002.

  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 2000-2004.
  • “The Empire is the Enemy of the East’: Student Activism in 1940s Colonial Korea,” research article, The Journal of Korean Studies, Spring 2015, Volume 20, Number 1 (forthcoming).

  • Colonial Rule and Social Change in Korea, 1910-1945, solicited book review, The Journal of Asian Studies, August 2014, Volume 73, Issue 3.

  • “Regionalism, Nationalism and Empire in 1920s Student Activism,” chapter based on expanded workshop paper, Rereading the Colonial Period, Korean Studies Center, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea 2006 (in Korean).

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