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Jonathan L

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)


Japanese history and literature, German history, comparative history, history of the Second World War, history of social movements, history of science and technology, environmental history


I recently completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of California, Berkeley, where I wrote a dissertation on the comparative history of commercial nuclear energy in Japan and West Germany. More generally, I am interested in modern global history, with a geographical focus on East Asia and Europe. As part of my research, I have traveled to libraries and archives across Germany and Japan and have worked with all kinds of historical sources, among them documentary films, memoirs, literature, non-fiction, personal papers, propaganda, periodicals, scientific journals, and music. Teaching and mentoring have been some of the most rewarding aspects of my graduate studies, and I look forward to working with you here at Polygence. In my free time, I enjoy playing, writing, and recording music (my favorite instruments are drums, guitar, bass guitar, and synthesizer).

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Propaganda in World War II

This project will explore the use of propaganda during the Second World War through an examination of posters, political cartoons, opinion pieces, and documentary films. The project will give you the chance to look at the production of narratives of the other and to learn how societies react to being in a state of war. Students can focus on American, Japanese, or German propaganda, or explore them comparatively.

Twentieth-Century Social Movements Across Time and Space

The project will give you the chance to explore a variety of popular uprisings and social movements that emerged during moments of great unrest (the post-WWI moment, the early Cold War, the late 1960s, the many revolutions of 1989). Students can use the project to focus on a single social movement, or choose to compare more than one.

Languages I know

German, Japanese

Teaching experience

I have worked as a teaching assistant at UC Berkeley for a variety of courses on modern European and East Asian history. Recently, I taught a course of my own design on the history of nuclear energy (the course focused on World War II, Japanese-American relations, the history of science, and environmental history). I have mentored a number of my former students, many of whom have gone on to master's and Ph.D. programs in the humanities and social sciences. Prior to enrolling in my doctoral program, I worked as an English as a Foreign Language teacher in Japan.


Work experience

University of California, Berkeley (2017 - 2023)
Graduate Student Instructor
Fulbright Japan (2018 - 2019)
Graduate Research Fellow
ECC Foreign Language Institute (2012 - 2015)
English as a Foreign Language Instructor


University of Massachusetts Amherst
BA Bachelor of Arts (2009)
University of Chicago
MA Master of Arts (2011)
Social Sciences
University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy

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