I graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College and earned a Ph.D. in History from Cornell University under the direction of Thomas Borstelmann. I am a specialist on U.S.-East Asian relations during the Cold War. My work focuses on the social and cultural impact of the United States on East Asia. My first book, Nation Building in South Korea, examines why South Korea was among the few post-colonial nations to achieve economic development and political democracy. It is the first monograph on the subject to use both American and Korean source materials. I received a Fulbright Scholarship, Kluge Fellowship from the Library of Congress and grants from the Association for Asian Studies and the Sigur Center to do work on this project.At the Wilson Center I am finishing up a book manuscript on Sino-American competition in the Third World during the Cold War.


B.A. (1994) Amherst; Ph.D. (2002) Cornell



  • Assistant (2002-2008) and Associate (2008-) Professor, The George Washington University
  • East Asia, China, Korea, U.S. foreign policy

Project Summary

The Eagle Against the Dragon examines Sino-American competition in the Third World during the Cold War. It will be the first scholarly account of how the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) struggled against each other for political, economic and cultural influence through much of Asia and parts of Africa in the years between 1949 and 1979. My research pays particular attention to the military, economic and cultural dimensions of this competition. It is based on thousands of new documents that have recently become available in China and numerous American archival materials that have to date not been used by any other scholar.

Major Publications

  • Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans and the Making of a Democracy (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2007).
  • "The United States and Multilateral Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia," Asian Perspective 32, no.2 (Summer 2008).
  • "From Pupil to Model: American Economic Development Policy and the ROK 1961-1968," Diplomatic History (January, 2005).