Ian Shin received his PhD from Columbia University in 2016. He co-hosts the New Books Network’s Asian American Studies podcast, where he interviews authors of new books in the field. We caught up with him in the midst of the busy Fall term.
What's it like coming to Michigan?
It’s incredibly exciting to join a history department that’s so well known for the breadth and innovation of its offerings, the caliber of its scholarship, and the quality of its students. That can also feel daunting, but everyone has been so welcoming and supportive. I sense the pride among students, faculty, and staff that we are all part of something greater—and something great. Personally, coming to teach at Michigan also feels like a homecoming. My husband’s grandparents met here at U-M, and several members of my family also attended Michigan.
What is your current research project?
My research interests sit at the intersection of immigration from and US foreign relations with Asia. My current book project examines how Americans collected and studied Chinese art in the early twentieth century as part of a larger process of redefining the status of the United States in the world as a cultural superpower. Michigan happens to be a great home for this research, given the strengths of the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the fact that the most important collector of Asian art in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, Charles Freer, lived in Detroit.
What (non-academic) book are you reading these days?
I recently finished Min Jin Lee’s novel Pachinko—and highly recommend it!