Bill Sewell


B.Sc. (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
M.A. (University of California, Davis)
Ph.D. (University of British Columbia)

Office: MN 226 
Phone: 420-5755
Fax: 420-5141


Bill Sewell arrived at Saint Mary's in the fall of 2000, having taught at post-secondary institutions in Canada, Japan, France, and the United States. His research interests pertain to the modern era in Japanese and Chinese history, focusing especially on urban issues, cultural perspectives, and the history of the Japanese empire. His research has been supported by SSHRC, the Japan Association for International Education (Nihon Kokusai Kyoiku Kyokai), the University of British Columbia, and Saint Mary's University.

Professor Sewell is a past List Editor for H-NEAsia (  He has been a Member-at-Large for the Japan Studies Association of Canada (JSAC; and served as Secretary-Treasurer and Conference Organizer.  He is also a past Member-at-Large on the East Asia Council Executive Committee for the Canadian Asian Studies Association.


Most of Professor Sewell's courses explore the history of eastern Asia, especially the histories of China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam and their interactions.  He has also offered the required course for majors in History at Saint Mary's University (HIST 3000 The Discipline of History) and the capstone course in Asian Studies (ASNT 4400 Seminar in Asian Studies). 


“Japanese Public Health Concerns in Treaty-Port Manchuria,” Canadian Journal of History 57:1 (April 2022): 81-111    

with Norio Ota, “Sakuta Shōichi, ‘The Light of Asia’,” in Translating the Occupation: The Japanese Invasion of China, 1931-45, eds. Jonathan Henshaw, Craig A. Smith, and Norman Smith (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2021), 39-49

Constructing Empire: The Japanese in Changchun, 1905-45
 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2019)

“Missions to Manchuria,” Canadian Journal of History 54:1-2 (Spring/Summer 2019): 84-110

“East Asian Treaty Ports as Zones of Encounter,” Journal of Urban History 45:6 (November 2019): 1315-1325

John Lee, Seven Crucial Centuries: Changes in Premodern Chinese Society and Economy, 499 BCE – 1800 CE, ed. Bill Sewell (Halifax: Department of History, Saint Mary’s University, 2016)

"Introduction" and "Manufacturing Japan in Manchuria," in Resilient Japan: Papers Presented at the 24th Annual Conference of the Japan Studies Association of Canada, ed. Bill Sewell (Halifax: Japan Studies Association of Canada, 2013), 6-8, 204-224 (e-book pagination differs)

"Meiji-Taisho Japan," in
 John Cooper Robinson: Photographs from Meiji-Taisho Japan, ed. Jill Cooper-Robinson, (Blurb, 2012; non-academic publication documenting the John Cooper Robinson Collection now at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC)

“Beans to Banners: The Evolving Architecture of Pre-War Changchun," in Harbin to Hanoi: Colonial Built Environment in Asia, 1840 to 1940, ed. Laura Victoir and Victor Zatsepine (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012), 37-57

"Manshukoku kokuto 'Shinkyo' no datsukochiku" (Manchukuo's "New Capital" in Contemporary Perspectives), in Nitchu sensoki Chugoku no shakai to bunka (Chinese Society and Culture during the Sino-Japanese War), ed. Ezra Vogel and Hirano Ken'ichiro (Tokyo: Keio University Press, 2010), 291-327

"Feng Yuxiang," "Harriman Affair," "Manchuria," "South Manchuria Railway," and "Warlordism," in Encyclopedia of Chinese-American Relations, ed. Yuwu Song (McFarland & Company, 2006), 105-106, 128-129, 185-186, 263-264, 306-307

"Crisis, War, and Culture: The Global Significance of Japanese National Cultures," in Why Japan Matters!, ed. Joseph F. Kess and Helen Landsowne (Victoria: Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, 2005), 98-108

"Reconsidering the Modern in Japanese History: Modernity in the Service of the Prewar Japanese Empire," Japan Review 16 (2004): 213-258

"Kyu Manshu ni okeru senzen Nihon no machizukuri katsudo" (Prewar Japanese City Making in Manchuria), Nichibunken Foramu (Nichibunken Forum) 160 (December 2003), 30 pp.

"Postwar Japan and Manchuria," in Japan at the Millennium: Joining Past and Future, ed. David W. Edgington (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003), 97-119

"Railway Outpost and Puppet Capital: Urban Expressions of Japanese Imperialism in Changchun, 1905-1945," in Colonialism and the Modern World: Selected Studies, ed. Gregory Blue, Martin Bunton, and Ralph Crozier (Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, 2002), 283-298

"Japanese Imperialism and Civic Construction in Manchuria: Changchun, 1905-1945," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of British Columbia, 2000

More than fifty books reviewed for the Canadian Journal of History, Historical Geography, Journal of Urban HistoryPacific Affairs, Progress in Development Studies, University of Toronto Quarterly, and H-Net (H-Diplo, H-HistGeog, H-Japan, and H-US-Japan)