James Barnhart

Educational Background

B.A. (History) Oberlin College, 1986.

M.A. (History) University of Chicago, 1988.

Ph.D. (History) University of Chicago, 1999.


James Barnhart was born in a small town in Pennsylvania.  He won the Comfort Starr Prize in History in Oberlin College (1986), and later served as a Fulbright Travel Scholar to France (1991-92).  After completing his doctoral degree, he taught at Shippensburg University and the main campus of Penn State University.  In addition, he occupied a variety of academic posts in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Nepal.  He first worked in China in 2008, teaching at Beijing Jiaotong University, Renmin University, Minzu University, and Capital Normal University, while concurrently working as an IELTS Examiner for the British Council.  He returned to China in 2018 to join Wenzhou-Kean University’s Department of History.  He is interested in Chinese Taijiquan and Qigong.  In addition, he has traveled to some three dozen countries on six continents.

Research interests

French colonial Vietnam.
Aquatic themes in traditional Southeast Asian cultures.

Selected Publications/scholarly and creative work

“Sinic Law Meets Western Sensibilities.” Conference paper delivered to “Alterity and Connectivity: The Cultural Relationality between China and the West,” United International College, Zhuhai, China. November 23, 2019.

“East & West: Historic Origins of Different Learning Styles.” Presentation to World Wenzhounese Conference, China-U.S. Education Cooperation Forum, Wenzhou, China, November 9, 2018.


HIST 1062 Worlds of History
HIST 3010 Modern America (since 1945) through Film
HIST 3242 Europe since 1870
HIST 3865 The Second World War
HIST 4220 The Revolutionary Era, 1789-1870