Field & Specialties
East Asian Environmental History
Borderlands and Historical Geography
Ph.D., Stanford University (2019)
B.A., Brigham Young University (2013)
A.S., Dixie State College (2007)
Joseph Seeley is an Assistant Professor and specialist in the history of Korea, the Japanese Empire, and East Asian environmental history.
His current book project examines the Yalu River boundary between northern Korea and China during the period 1894-1945. Drawing on previously unexamined sources in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, he argues that the seasonally changing river was more than a mere backdrop to the region’s violent history but a critical agent of border creation and contestation alongside local human residents. As part of his multilingual research on Korean history, Seeley has also published on US-Korean diplomatic history in Journal of Korean Studies, a longue-durée survey of Korean tiger-human relations in the Environmental History, and has an article forthcoming in the Journal of Asian Studies on the history of Japanese colonial zoos in Seoul and Taipei.
Prior to joining the History faculty at UVA Seeley completed his doctoral studies at Stanford University, where his research was supported by the Korea Foundation and the Freeman Spogli Institute. Before Stanford he earned a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Korean from Brigham Young University.
Liquid Geography: Japan's Imperial Boundary between Korea and China, 1894-1945 [book manuscript in progress]
With Aaron Skabelund. "'Bite, Bite against the Iron Cage': The Colonial Seoul and Taipei Zoos and Empire’s Ambivalent Dreamscape." Forthcoming in The Journal of Asian Studies
With Aaron Skabelund. “Tigers—Real and Imagined—in Korea’s Physical and Cultural Landscape.” Environmental History, Vol. 20, No. 3 (July 2015): 475–503.
With Kirk Larsen. “Simple Conversation or Secret Treaty? The Taft-Katsura Memorandum in Korean Historical Memory,” Journal of Korean Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring 2014): 59-92.
Review of David Ambaras, Japan's Imperial Underworlds: Intimate Encounters at the Borders of Empire, forthcoming in Social History.
In 2019-2020, I will be teaching the following courses on Korean history and East Asian environmental history:
HIEA 2101, Modern Korean History: One Peninsula, Two Paths
HIEA 4501, North Korea
HIEA 1501: Industrial Pollution and Society in East Asia
HIEA 2091: Korean Civilization to 1900