Julian Dierkes is Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA), Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research, and Coordinator, Program on Inner Asia, at the University of British Columbia.
He serves as an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Graduate + Postdoctoral Studies, and has been elected to the UBC-V Senate through 2023.
Julian is a German-born, U.S.-trained sociologist who focuses his research in Canada on Japan and Mongolia.
He was trained at Princeton University as a neo-institutionalist in sociology, meaning that he tries to analyze social developments and policies by uncovering the assumptions, norms, and behavioural patterns that structure decision-making and thus produce outcomes at the population level in particular organizational or policy fields.
[somewhat chronologically from earliest to current research interest]
- national identity construction through history education
- organizational behaviour among large U.S. firms
- legal training reform in Japan
- supplementary education around the world and especially in Japan
- democratization and political development in Mongolia
- mining policy especially in Mongolia
- digital diplomacy
He is active on Twitter @jdierkes where he mostly tweets about contemporary Mongolia.
He has been or is involved in three active professional blogs:
- Jukupedia (2011-2014), supplementary education in contemporary Japan.
- Mongolia Focus (with Mendee Jargalsaikhan, Byambajav Dalaibuyan, Brandon Miliate, and Bulgan Batdorj, since July 2011), strategic analysis of contemporary Mongolian politics, resources, and society.
- Direct Diplomacy (with Ben Rowswell, since May 2016), practitioners and students explore the transformation that digital tools are bringing to the practice of diplomacy
His professional activities have shifted from his training as a purely analytical social scientist to a more engaged stance where he points to implications of his research and is increasingly engaging policy-makers directly.
This shift has come about through teaching (first in the MA Asia Pacific Policy Studies, now in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs), but also through his curiosity about internet-based communication tools. From setting up the first social science webpage for his department in graduate school to recent attempts to keep up with new formats and their uses, he has tried to understand communication tools and how they might be put to use in the social sciences and in policy-analysis and policy-making. When he is now writing about digital diplomacy or teaching policy communications, he does so from a mixed perspective as a research and practitioner. That is one of the reasons that Julian is channeling his activities in this area mostly into blog posts and engagement with policymakers.
In his hopes to develop opportunities for a more engaged involvement in the area of supplementary education, he has been largely frustrated, but that frustration in itself bears many lessons. Even though he remains convinced that supplementary education and its growth is a topic that policymakers and other practitioners at many levels should be very attentive to, the fellowship of researchers in this field has only had limited success in calling attention to this issue. He has felt that the Japanese and Japanese policymakers (natural targets for conclusions from his research focused on Japan) have been particularly unwilling to consider the implications of supplementary education.
Strategic Analysis and Development of Mongolia
Julian’s research on contemporary Mongolia has led him to two areas of professional practice: political risk analysis, global indices, and development assistance.
The fact that Mongolia has established a functioning democracy following a revolution in 1990 is one of the aspects that have fascinated Julian about that country. Political developments are complicated, involve many players and have outsized implications for the fate of Mongolia. He often shares his understanding of these political developments through the assessment of risks to investments, but also to future efforts in democratization.
Julian’s attention to Mongolia has also brought him into contact with various efforts to benchmark political and social developments globally. As an example of such benchmarking, see the “Mongolia Scorecard” he maintains on the Mongolia Focus blog. Beyond an understanding of the construction of such indices, he also serves as the Mongolia analyst for a number of them.
Over his years of involvement with Mongolia, he has developed a generalist’s understanding of many aspects of that country’s development. He has contributed to various training, consulting and development activities with Mongolian and international partners.
Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education (Editor with Janice Aurini and Scott Davies). International Perspectives on Education and Society 22. Bingley, UK: Emerald, 2013.
Change in Democratic Mongolia – Social Relations, Health, Mobile Pastoralism, and Mining (Editor). Brill’s Inner Asian Library 25. Leiden: Brill,
Guilty Lessons? Postwar History Education in Japan and the Germanys. London: Routledge, 2010.
Articles and Chapters
“Intelligence Services in Democratic Mongolia” (with Mendee J, Tuvshintugs A) in Blancke, ed “East Asian Intelligence and Organised Crime”. Berlin: Verlag Dr. Köster, 2015.
“Out of the Shadows? An Introduction to Worldwide Supplementary Education” (with Janice Aurini and Scott Davies) in Aurini, Davies, and Dierkes, eds. Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education (Editor with Janice Aurini and Scott Davies). International Perspectives on Education and Society 22. Bingley, UK: Emerald, 2013.
“The Insecurity Industry: Supplementary Education in Japan” in Aurini, Davies, and Dierkes, eds. Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education (Editor with Janice Aurini and Scott Davies). International Perspectives on Education and Society 22. Bingley, UK: Emerald, 2013.
“Introduction: Research on Contemporary Mongolia” in Dierkes, ed. Change in Democratic Mongolia. Leiden: Brill, 2012.
with Byambajav Dalaibuyan “Conclusions: Mongolia in the First Twenty Years of the 21st Century” in Dierkes, ed. Change in Democratic Mongolia. Leiden: Brill, 2012.
“Supplementary Education in Asia“, The Newsletter, International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden, The Netherlands: Spring 2011.
with Matthias König “Conflict in the World Polity – Neo-Institutional Perspectives“. Acta Sociologica. 54 (1): 5-25, 2011.
“Das japanische Privatschulwesen – Bildungspolitische Lückenbüßer und Marktlücke” [Japanese Private Schools – Educational Policy Stop Gap and Market Niche]. 2009. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik [German Educational Research Journal], No. 5: 732-746.
with Michiyo Hayase “市場原理と塾の多様性に関する考察” [Considerations on Market Principles and Diversity in Supplementary Education] in Sato ed. 「絆 きずな」二十周年記念誌. Tokyo: Japan Juku Association, 2008: 70-72.
“Juku as Seen From Abroad” in Sato, ed. 「絆 きずな」二十周年記念誌. Tokyo: Japan Juku Association, 2008: 73-76.
“The Trajectory of Reconciliation through History Education in Postunification Germany” in Cole, ed. Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007: 31-50.
“How Did We Become a Learning Generation?”. WZB Lectures [Lectures of the Social Science Research Center Berlin]. 2007
with Matthias König “Zur Ambivalenz der universalistischen Weltkultur – Konfliktbearbeitung und Konfliktdynamik aus Sicht des neuen soziologischen Institutionalismus” [The Ambivalence of a Universal World Culture – Dispute Resolution and Dispute Dynamics in the New Sociological Institutionalism] in Bonacker and Weller, eds. Konflikte der Weltgesellschaft. Akteure – Strukturen – Dynamiken [Conflicts in World Society]. Frankfurt a.M.: Campus
Verlag, 2006: 127-148.
with Dirk Zorn, Frank Dobbin, and Man-Shan Kwok “The New New Firm”. Nordiske Organisasjons-Studier [Nordic Organization Studies]. Vol. 3 (2006): 41-68.
Guest editor with Kathryn Ibata-Arens and Dirk Zorn “Special Issue on the Embedded Enterprise”. Enterprise & Society: The International Business History Journal. Vol. 7, No. 1 (March 2006).
with Kathryn Ibata-Arens and Dirk Zorn “Theoretical Introduction to the Special Issue on the Embedded Enterprise”. Enterprise & Society. Vol. 7 (March 2006): 1-18.
with Mayumi Saegusa “Integrating Alternative Dispute Resolution into Japanese Legal Education”. Journal of Japanese Law. Vol. 10, No. 20 (2005): 101-114.
with Dirk Zorn “Soziologischer Neo-Institutionalismus” [Sociological Neo-Institutionalism] in D. Kaesler (ed.) Aktuelle Theorien der Soziologie [Current Theories in Sociology]. Munich: CH Beck, 2005: 313-31.
“Heritage, Wende and National Identity: Portrayals of the Nation in German and Japanese History Education of the 1980s” in E. Matthes and C. Heinze (eds.) Das Schulbuch zwischen Lehrplan und Unterrichtspraxis – Beiträge zur historischen und systematischen Schulbuchforschung [Textbooks Between Curriculum and Teaching Praxis – Contributions to Historical and International Textbook Research]. Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt Forschung, 2005: 247-63.
“The Stability of Postwar Japanese History Education Amid Global Changes” in E. Vickers and A. Jones (eds.) History Education and National Identity in East Asia. London: Routledge, 2005: 255-74.
“The Decline and Rise of the Nation in German History Education” in H. Schissler and Y. Soysal (eds.) The Nation, Europe and the World: Textbooks and Curricula in Transition. New York: Berghahn Books, 2005: 82-103.
with Dirk Zorn, Frank Dobbin and Man-shan Kwok “Managing Investors: How Financial Markets Reshaped the American Firm” in K. Knorr Cetina and A. Preda (eds.) The Sociology of Financial Markets. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 269-89.
“Nihon no Chûgakkôyô Rekishikyôkasho de Egakareru Kokkazô to Keikenshugiteki Rekishijojutsu” [Empiricist Historiography in Portrayals of the Japanese Nation in Middle-School History Education] in M. Watanabe (ed.) Jojutsu no Sutairu to Rekishikyôiku [Narrative Style and History Education]. Tokyo: Sangensha, 2003: 161-81.
with Daniel Levy “Institutionalizing the Past: Shifting Memories of Nationhood in German Education and Immigration Legislation” in J.-W. Müller (ed.) Memory and Power in Post-War Europe: Studies in the Presence of the Past. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002: 244-264.
“Absence, Déclin ou Essor de la Nation: Manuels d’Histoire D’Après-Guerre au Japon, et dans les deux Allemagnes” [The Absence, Decline and Rise of the Nation: History Textbooks in Postwar Japan and the Germanys]. Genèses – Sciences Sociales et Histoire, 44 (Sept. 2001): 30-49. Abstract
“National Identity Construction and the Teachers’ Unions of the Germanys and Japan, 1945-1955” in A. Dieckhoff and N. Gutierrez (eds.) Modern Roots: Studies of National Identities. Hampshire: Ashgate Press, 2001: 174-95. Abstract
“Downsizing von Großunternehmen – Erfahrungen aus den USA” [Downsizing in Large Corporations – Experiences from the U.S.] in D. Bögenhold (ed.) Unternehmensgründung und Dezentralität [Business Foundings and Decentralization]. Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1999: 144-58. Abstract
Research Notes, Newsletter Articles, Blog Posts, and Media
Julian regularly writes for academic newsletters and blogs, as well as occasional articles for other media outlets. He is a go-to source for many journalists whenever any interest in contemporary Mongolia arises. For such writing on Mongolia by Julian and his collaborators, see the listing on the Mongolia Focus blog.
|2019||Public Outreach Award, Central Eurasian Studies Society|
|2013||Governor General’s Medallion|
|2012||Peter Larkin Award, UBC (Master of Arts Asia Pacific Policy Studies – as Graduate Advisor)|
|2011||Visiting Professor, Université de Toulouse II Le Mirail, Toulouse, France|
|2003-04||Early Career Scholar, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies|
|2001-02||Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge|
|1999||Participant, Konstanzer Meisterklasse, University of Konstanz|
|Participant, Social Science Research Council Japan Program Dissertation Workshop|
|1998-99||Foreign Research Scholar, Institute of Social Science, University of Tôkyô|
|Dissertation Fellow, German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tôkyô|
|1997-98||Fellow, Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, Social Science Research Council and Free University Berlin|
|1996-97||Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Prize Fellowship, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University|
Affiliations and Appointments
|January 2018 –||Associate Dean, Funding, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, University of British Columbia|
|November 2015 – June 2016||Project Lead, IMAGinE Mongolia, Canadian International Resources and Development Institute|
|July 2014 – present||Graduate Advisor, Master of Arts Asia Pacific Policy Studies, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia|
|July 2010 – July 2014||Director, Centre for Japanese Research, University of British Columbia|
|October 2009 – August 2012||Associate Director and Graduate Advisor, Master of Arts Asia Pacific Policy Studies, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia|
|April 2009-April 2018||Vice President (External Affairs), American Center for Mongolian Studies|
Program on Inner Asia, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia
|July 2006-June 2014||Associate Member
Department of Sociology, University of British Columbia
|December 2004-June 2006||Associate Member
Department of Anthropology and Sociology,
University of British Columbia
|September 2004-August 2005||Acting Director
Centre for Japanese Research,
University of British Columbia
|September 2003-June 2010||Associate Director
Centre for Japanese Research,
University of British Columbia
|January 2003-present||Faculty Associate
Institute for European Studies,
University of British Columbia
|June 2011-present||Associate Editor, American Education Research Journal|
|March 2005-Sept 2012||Associate Editor and Member, Executive Committee, Pacific Affairs|
|Sept 2004-March 2005||Acting Associate Editor, Pacific Affairs|
|April 2004-present||Member, Editorial Board, Pacific Affairs|
|2001-03||Research Editor (Sociology), Electronic Journal of
Contemporary Japanese Studies
|1995-97||Member, Publications Committee and Homepage Editor, Section on Organizations,
Occupations, and Work, American Sociological Association
|1991-92||Member, Editorial Board, Berkeley Undergraduate Journal|