This is the website of Oleg Benesch, a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in East Asian History in the Department of History at the University of York in the UK. My research interests lie at the intersection of intellectual, cultural, and social history. I am especially interested in the exchange and development of ideas and concepts across societies, with a focus on interactions between Japan, China, and the West. My educational backgrounds in both history and philosophy inform my interest in interdisciplinary work, and my research tends to take a comparative approach to themes nationalism, memory, identity, gender, nostalgia, and authenticity.
I am 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. I present my work in English, German, and Japanese. As an avid promoter of the study of East Asia, I am a co-founder and Deputy Director of the York Asia Research Network (YARN).
I am also a Research Associate of the Japan Research Centre at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In 2018, I was a research fellow at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) in Kyoto, sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Before arriving at York, I was Past & Present Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. I obtained my PhD from the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia, and also spent two years conducting research at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo with the support of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). I have spent six years studying and researching in Japan, beginning with 18 months of intensive language study at the Yamasa Institute followed by two years earning an MA at Reitaku University. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where I began to pursue what has become an enduring interest in East Asian history and thought.