Chien Wen Kung

Chien Wen Kung

Field: International/Global
Advisor: Charles Armstrong
Year: 2011


Born in Singapore, Chien-Wen Kung graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, where he majored in History and English. Before starting his Ph.D. in Columbia in 2011, he worked as a policy officer in the Singapore Ministry of Defence and taught A-Level Southeast Asian history at his high school alma mater.

At Columbia, he works in the international and transnational history of East and Southeast Asia after the Second World War. He is broadly interested in approaches to the period and region that deemphasize American agency and Cold War diplomacy, and that integrate politics, non-state actors, culture, society, ideology, and ethnicity. His oral examination fields are modern Chinese history, modern Korean history, 20th century international and global history, and 19th century European imperialisms.

His dissertation focuses on relations between the Chinese Nationalist Party (the Guomindang, or GMD), the postcolonial Philippine state, and the Filipino-Chinese community from 1946 to 1975. Making use of archives in the Philippines, Taiwan, China, and the United States, it argues that the GMD was an ideologically nationalist and structurally transnational organization whose activism in the Philippines was part of its attempt to forge a regional anticommunist network in postwar Asia.

In 2012-2013, Chien-Wen served as co-President of the Graduate History Association. He is also a Weatherhead Fellow and has studied Chinese at National Taiwan University and Korean at Seoul National University.