Joseph W. Ho

Assistant Professor of History
East Asian History

Office: Robinson Hall 208
Phone: 517/629-0233
Personal Website:


  • 2017 Ph.D., University of Michigan (History)
  • 2012 M.A., University of Michigan (History)
  • 2009 B.A., University of California San Diego (East Asian History, Honors with Highest Distinction)

Courses Offered

  • East Asia: Culture and Civilization
  • Modern China
  • Visualizing East Asia
  • Saints and Sinners: Histories of Christianity in China
  • World War II in the Pacific
  • STEM in East Asian History
  • (Honors) American Encounters with China: Cross-Cultural Histories and Global Dynamics

Scholarly Activity

Current Research Projects

  • "Reframing Community: Photographic Imaginations of Christian Diaspora in Cold War China and Taiwan"
  • “Translation and Refraction: Missionary Photographs and Existential Crises in Late Qing and Early Republican China”



  • Developing Mission: Photography, Filmmaking, and American Missionaries in Modern China (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, January 2022)
  • War and Occupation in China: The Letters of an American Missionary from Hangzhou, 1937-1938, co-edited with Charles Bright (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)

Book Chapters

  • “Coincident Images: Chinese Christian Posters, Sino-Western Encounters, and Transnational Visual Culture,” in Saving China: Chinese Christian Propaganda Posters in an Age of Revolution, 1919–1951, Daryl R. Ireland, ed. (Baylor University Press, forthcoming 2022).
  • "Imaging Missions, Visualizing Experience: American Presbyterian Photography, Filmmaking, and Chinese Christianity in Interwar Republican China," in China's Christianity: From Mission to Indigenous Church, Anthony E. Clark ed. (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2017)

Selected Articles

  • Facing History: Strategies for Teaching Chinese and World History with Memoirs,” coauthored with Kristin Stapleton (University at Buffalo, SUNY), Education About Asia, 25, no. 2 (Fall 2020, accepted and in-press)
  • “Outside the Box: Teaching East Asian History with Multimedia Approaches, Technological Artifacts, and Performative Activities,” co-authored with Paul G. Pickowicz (UC San Diego), Jenny Huangfu Day (Skidmore College), and Ya Zuo (Bowdoin College), Education About Asia, 24, no. 3 (Winter 2019): 47-50
  • "Cameras and Conversions: Crossing Boundaries in American Catholic Missionary Experience and Photography in Modern China," U.S. Catholic Historian, 34 (2016): 93-120
  • "'In Our Image:' Visual Perception and American Protestant Missions in Interwar China," UCLA Historical Journal, 23 (2012): 43-61

Selected Invited Talks

  • “Graven Images: Missionary Visual Practices and Perspectives on Chinese Religions,” Michigan State University (April 2021).
  • “Witness to History: What One Man Saw in China at War,” Pace University, New York (November 2019)
  • “Shot – Countershot: Visuality, Documentation, and Experience in Wartime China, 1937-1945,” History Speaker Series Lecture, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti (March 2019)
  • “Conversion: Visual Practices, Missionary Media, and Transnational Christianity in Republican China,” Purdue University, Indiana (February 2019)
  • “The Lens, the Mission, and the City: American Missionary Photography, Filmmaking, and Republican Shanghai as Visual-Cultural Nexus,” Symposium in Memory of Iuming Suez, Columbia University, New York (November 2018)
  • “Family Visions, Global Identities: China-US Encounters in Private Photographs and Film,” Confucius Institute 9th Anniversary Keynote Lecture, Pace University, New York (May 2018)
  • “The Shadow of Death: Missionary Films, Photographs, and Visual Traces of the Nanjing Massacre,” University of San Francisco, California (April 2018)
  • "Visions of Violence: American Missionary Films and Visual Traces of the Nanjing Massacre," Pace University, New York (February 2018)

Research Interests

  • Modern Chinese History
  • Sino-US Encounters
  • Cultural and Transnational History
  • Christianity in China
  • Global Visual Culture
  • History of Photography
  • History of Technology


  • Faculty Development Large Grant, Albion College (2020)
  • Teddy Amoloza Conference Award, ASIANetwork (2020)
  • Domestic Travel Grant, Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History, University of San Francisco (2019)
  • Henry Luce Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History, University of San Francisco (2017)
  • David M. Stowe Fellowship for Mission Research, Yale University Divinity School (2017)
  • Doris G. Quinn Foundation Fellowship in History (2017)
  • Seminar and Workshop Grant, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan (2016)
  • Rackham Humanities Dissertation Fellowship, University of Michigan (2015-2016)
  • Frederick B. Artz Summer Research Grant, Oberlin College Archives (2012, 2015)
  • Lieberthal Family Fellowship, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan (2015)
  • Albert Feuerwerker and Ernest P. Young Fellowship, University of Michigan (2014)
  • Rackham Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, University of Michigan (2013)
  • Rackham Merit Fellowship, University of Michigan (2010-2016)

Media Coverage