AAS Member Spotlight: John S. Major

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Thomas Lamont, Groton School, History Department, Chair

History: United States, Europe, China, India, Russia   

How long have you been a member of AAS?

5 years

Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues?

I am privileged to teach exceptionally motivated and capable secondary school students, and I thought that I could be a better teacher if I learned more about the topics that I teach by attending AAS' annual conference. In addition, I was a longtime subscriber and huge fan of AAS' excellent journal, Education About Asia (EAA), and I wanted to help the journal reach more teachers by encouraging it to include more material on India, an emerging area of interest among high school students.

How did you first become involved in Asian Studies?

As an undergraduate, I was fortunate to be taught Modern Chinese history by Andrew Gordon.

What do you enjoy most or what have been your most rewarding experiences involving your work in Asian Studies?

Meeting and learning from the terrific and brilliant individuals who make up AAS has been wonderfully rewarding.

Tell us about your current or past research.

My research as an undergraduate and graduate student was mostly in American and European history. However, my most recent research, if I one can call it that, has focused on India, China, and International Relations. 

What advice or recommendation do you have for students interested in a career in Asian Studies?

India and South Asia is an area that has long been neglected by American scholars, and it is only going to become more important to the United States.  So consider focusing on the Sub-Continent.  Also, consider teaching at the high school level; there are plenty of smart high schoolers who are fun and rewarding to work with. 

Outside of Asian Studies, tell us some interesting facts about yourself.

For three years after college I played in a mildly successful punk rock band, the Not, which toured North America several times and recorded a few albums (thus dating myself to at least the mid-1980s). As we criss-crossed the US, I drove my bandmates crazy by insisting on stopping at every nearby historical site. I sure learned a lot about this country on those trips!

"India and South Asia is an area that has long been neglected by American scholars, and it is only going to become more important to the United States.  So consider focusing on the Sub-Continent."

— Thomas Lamont