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Chris SuhAssistant Professor

Chris Suh, Assistant Professor (BA Brown University, 2010; MA Stanford University, 2011; PhD Stanford University, 2019). US in the World; Asian American History; Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity; the Progressive Era

I am a historian of race, ethnicity, and inequality, specializing in transpacific connections between the United States and East Asia and Asian American history.

My first book, The Allure of Empire: American Encounters with Asians in the Age of Transpacific Expansion and Exclusion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2023), traces how American ideas about race in the Pacific were made and remade on the imperial stage before World War II. Following the Russo-Japanese War, the United States cultivated an amicable relationship with Japan based on the belief that it was a "progressive" empire akin to its own. Even as the two nations competed for influence in Asia and clashed over immigration issues in the American West, the mutual respect for empire sustained their transpacific cooperation until Pearl Harbor, when both sides disavowed their history of collaboration and cast each other as incompatible enemies.

In recovering this lost history, The Allure of Empire reveals the surprising extent to which debates about Korea shaped the politics of interracial cooperation. American recognition of Japan as a suitable partner depended in part on a positive assessment of its colonial rule of Korea. It was not until news of Japan's violent suppression of Koreans soured this perception that the exclusion of Japanese immigrants became possible in the United States. Central to these shifts in opinion was the cooperation of various Asian elites aspiring to inclusion in a "progressive" American empire. By examining how Korean, Japanese, and other nonwhite groups appealed to the United States, this book demonstrates that the imperial order sustained itself through a particular form of interracial collaboration that did not disturb the existing racial hierarchy. You can listen to me talk about The Allure of Empire on the New Books Network and the Gilded Age and Progressive Era podcasts.

Since arriving at Emory, I have won multiple awards for my research, teaching, and service, including the Emory College Award for Academic Advising and the Laura Jones Hardman Award for Excellence in Service to the Emory Community for my work with Asian American students on campus. My advisees have won numerous national and international honors including the Marshall Scholarship, the Luce Scholarship, and the Fulbright Study/Research Awards. My research has been highlighted by NPR, AJC, Time magazine, and Vanity Fair.


  • B.A., Brown University, 2010
  • M.A., Stanford University, 2011
  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 2019


  • US in the Pacific World
  • Asian American History
  • Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
  • The Progressive Era

Selected Publications