This is the website of Oleg Benesch, a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in East Asian History at the University of York. His research focuses on the historical exchange and development of ideas and concepts across societies, with a focus on interactions between Japan, China, and the West. Benesch’s educational backgrounds in both history and philosophy inform his major research interests, as well as his interest in interdisciplinary work. His research tends to take a comparative approach, and his work examines themes including nationalism, identity, nostalgia, masculinity, memory, and authenticity.
Benesch’s first book, Inventing the Way of the Samurai: Nationalism, Internationalism and Bushido in Modern Japan was published by Oxford University Press in 2014 (paperback edition 2016; reviews in The Japan Times, American Historical Review, Journal of Asian Studies, H-Japan, Journal of Military History, Frog in a Well, H/Soz/Kult (in German)). He is a co-author of Civilizing Emotions: Concepts in Nineteenth-Century Asia and Europe, also published by Oxford University Press, in 2015. Benesch is currently working on several ongoing projects related to the study of Japanese castles, transnational conceptions of martial identity, as well as new projects concerning conceptions of civil society and alternative education movements.
Benesch presents his work in English, German, and Japanese at conferences in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He is an avid promoter of the study of East Asia, and is a co-founder of the Asia Research Group at the University of York.