Dr. John Price

Dr. John Price
Emeritus Professor and Adjunct
Department of History
Office: Cle B204


Area of expertise

Asian. History of modern Japan; race, migration and the Transpacific; Canada and the Cold War.


History of modern Japan; race, migration and the Transpacific; Canada and the Cold War.


My graduate research focused on postwar Japan, particularly the history of the labour movement and economic development. My dissertation was published by Cornell University Press under the title Japan Works: Power and Paradox in Postwar Industrial Relations. Beginning around the year 2000 I began to broaden my research interests to Canada-East Asian relations. For a number of years I studied and published articles relating to Canada and the Cold War in East Asia (see publications), with a particular focus on Herbert Norman, the Canadian diplomat and preeminent historian of Japan. However, as I learned more about this history, I became concerned that conventional historians placed too much emphasis on state-to-state relations, underestimated other social actors, and largely neglected the important impact of race in Canada’s history with East Asia. This led to some major rethinking and delayed publication of my research monograph. That study has recently come out under the title Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific (UBC Press, 2011). I am currently working on a biography (with my collaborator in China, Ningping YU) of Victoria Cheung, the first Chinese Canadian to graduate from University of Toronto Medical School and the longest-serving medical missionary to China. My major research program focuses on the life stories of fifteen people with transpacific roots whose experiences will form the basis for a new history of Pacific Canada.

Selected publications


  • 'Orienting' Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific (Vancouver, UBC Press, 2011).
  • Japan Works: Power and Paradox in Postwar Industrial Relations (Ithaca: ILR Press, 1997).

Articles and chapters:

  • "'Orienting' the Empire: Mackenzie King and the Aftermath of the 1907 Race Riots," B.C. Studies, No. 156 (Winter 07/08), pp. 53-81.
  • "Rethinking the Occupation: E.H. Norman, Canada and the US Empire in Asia, 1945-1951, in Greg Donaghy and Patricia E. Roy, eds., Contradictory Impulses: Canada and Japan in the Twentieth Century, (Vancouver, UBC Press, 2008), pp. 120-139.
  • "Herbert Norman, the Occupation of Japan, and Canada-U.S. Relations. A Canadian critique of MacArthur and the Occupation," Japan Focus, No. 834 (May 2007), on-line at www.japanfocus.org.
  • "Cat's Paw: Canada and the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea," Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 85 No. 2 (June 2004), pp. 297-324.
  • "A Just Peace? The 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty in Historical Perspective," JPRI Working Paper No. 78, June 2001 (Japan Policy Research Institute).
  • "Cold War Relic: The San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Politics of Memory," Asian Perspectives, Vol. 25 No. 3 (Fall 2001), pp. 31-60.
  • "E.H. Norman, Canada and Japan's Postwar Constitution," Pacific Affairs, Vol.74 No. 3 (Fall 2001), pp. 383-405.
  • "Japan's Postwar Fordism: An Historical Perspective on the Economic Crisis in Japan," in Paul Bowles and Lawrence T. Woods et al., Japan After the Economic Miracle: In Search of New Directions (Dordrecht/Boston/London, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000), pp. 11-35
  • "Economic Turmoil in Asia: A Crisis of Globalization," in Stephen McBride and John Wiseman, eds., Globalization and its Discontents, (London/New York, Macmillan/St. Martin's Press, 2000), pp. 187-199.


HSTR 267A The Origins of Modern Japan
HSTR 267B Japan in the 20th Century
HSTR 367 The Rise and Fall of Imperial Japan
HSTR 369 Hiroshima and Beyond
HSTR 466 Migration, Race & Empire: Canada and the Transpacific