I am a German-born, U.S.-trained sociologist who focuses his research in Canada on Japan and Mongolia.


I was trained at Princeton University as a neo-institutionalist in sociology, meaning that I try 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




2009-present Associate Professor and Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research
Institute of Asian Research,
University of British Columbia
2002-2009 Assistant Professor and Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research
Institute of Asian Research,
University of British Columbia
2001-02 Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Fellow East Asia Institute (now, Department of East Asian Studies),
University of Cambridge


2003 Princeton University,
Ph.D. Sociology
Dissertation: “Teaching Portrayals of the
Nation – Postwar History Education in the Germanys and Japan”
1996 Princeton University,
M.A. Sociology
Areas of Examination: Economic Sociology, Japan in Comparative
Perspective, Sociology of Organizations
1992 University of California at
, B.A. Sociology, magna cum laude, with University
distinction, Minor in Philosophy

Honours and Awards

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

Professional Initiatives

2010 Co-Organizer, International Workshop on “The World-Wide Growth of Supplementary Education“, June 2010, University of Waterloo
2008 Organizer, International Conference on “Contemporary Mongolia: Transitions, Development and Social Transformations“, November 2008, Institute of Asian Research, UBC
2005-present Convenor, Mongolia Lecture Series, Program on Inner Asia, Institute of Asian Research, UBC
April 2002 Co-organizer, Junior Scholars’ Workshop on “Embedded Enterprise in Comparative Perspective” supported in part by the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the Social Science
Research Council
2000-present Chief Knowledge Officer, The SocioLog
October 2000 Co-Organizer, Graduate Student Workshop on “National Identity and Public Policy in Comparative Perspective“, supported in part by the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the Japan Foundation.
2000-present Editor, Open Directory Project: Science: Social
Sciences: Sociology
October 1999 Co-Organizer, DIJ Social Science Workshop on “Goals and Reality of Educational Reform in Japan”, German Institute for Japanese Studies,
1995-present Webmaster, WWW Virtual Library: Sociology listing
of US institutions
2001-04 Founding Co-Chair, Thematic Network on Identities, Council for European Studies
1993-2000 Webmaster, website of the Department of Sociology at Princeton University

Professional Service

Affiliations and Appointments

November 2015 – present 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-present Vice President (External Affairs), American Center for Mongolian Studies
September 2007-present Coordinator
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


November 2015


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.

Teaching in the Shadow – Operators of Small Shadow Education Institutions in Japan“. 2010. Asia Pacific Education Review. 10 (1): 25-35.

“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.

“Japanese Shadow Education: The Consequences of School Choice” in Forsey, Davies & Walford, eds. The Globalisation of School Choice?. Oxford: Symposium Books, 2008: 231-248. Abstract

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
(17): 44-50.

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 Asia Pacific Memos

Mongolian Empire 2.0? A World Conquered by Online Freedom” (with Trevor Kennedy, Melanie Schweiger, Christina Toepell). The Diplomat, May 14, 2015.

Mongolia’s Unexpected 2014East Asia Forum Jan 7, 2015.

Time for a Blueprint for Canadian Digital Diplomacy” (with Grégoire-François Legault) OpenCanada.org, Apr 17, 2014.

Mongolia in the Region: Time for Economic Foreign PolicyEast Asia Forum Quarterly, 6 (1), March 2014: 5-6.

Japan’s Mongolian Connection in North Korea” East Asia Forum, Nov 5 2013

Canada, Mongolia, and the Diplomacy of KnowledgeOpenCanada.org, Oct 30, 2013

Governing Mongolia – What the Mongolian Election Means for that Country’s Governance Structure and its Mining IndustryOpenCanada.org, July 2, 2013

Walking the Free Trade TalkOpenCanada.org, April 23, 2013

Mongolia’s Evolving Foreign Investment RegimeEast Asia Forum, January 9, 2013

Mongolia: Electronic Voting but no Trust” (with Brandon Miliate) East Asia Forum, July 5, 2012

Women Part of a Major Turnover in Mongolian Parliament” (with Brandon Miliate), Asia
Pacific Memo
, #168 (July 3, 2012)

Mongolia: corruption arrests and new investment laws as elections loom East Asia Forum, June 8, 2012

Mongolian Election: Bumpy Road, but Heading in the Right Direction” (with Mendee Jargalsaikhan) Asia
Pacific Memo
, #161 (June 7, 2012)

Why No Anti-Mining Party in Mongolia? Why No Pro-Mining Movement? Asia Pacific Memo, #106 (October 4, 2011)

Livelihood Clashes in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia” (with Dalaibuyan Byambajav and Jargalsaikhan
Mendee) Asia Pacific Memo, #87 (June 9, 2011)

Supplementary Education in Asia” (with Mark Bray) in J. Dierkes and M. Bray (eds.) “Supplementary Education in Asia“, The Newsletter, International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden, The Netherlands: Spring 2011.

“Supplementary Education in Japan” in J. Dierkes and M. Bray (eds.) “Supplementary Education in
“, The Newsletter, International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden, The Netherlands: Spring 2011.

Mongolia’s ‘third neighbour’ policy and its impact on foreign investmentEast Asia Forum, February 15, 2011

Current Convulsions in Mongolia’s Political Party LandscapeAsia Pacific Memo, #52 (February 1, 2011)

Misinterpreting Globalization in the Context of Japanese Education Policy” (with Justin Elavathil, Takehiko Kariya) Asia Pacific Memo, #43 (December 2, 2010)

65 Years After The Asia Pacific War: The End of History Politics?“, Asia Pacific Memo, #15 (August 26, 2010)

Is South Korea’s Hyper-Education System The Future?“, Asia Pacific Memo, #2 (July 13, 2010)

Expanding Canada-Mongolia Relations: Resource-Based Democracies in Collaboration“, Canada-Asia Agenda, 7 (April 2010), Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Supplementary Education: Global Growth, Japan’s Experience, Canada’s Future“. Education Canada, 48 (4, Fall 2008): 54-58.

Post-Socialist Democracy in Action in Mongolia” . Asia Pacific Report, 32 (1): 1 and 12.

“Research on Mongolia in Canada”. Mongolian Journal of International Affairs, 2006, 13: 158-159.

“Teaching National Identity – Portrayals of the Nation in Postwar History Education in the Germanys and Japan”. International Textbook Research, 2000 (Vol. 22, No. 4): 501-502.

Book Reviews

Mark Bray, Confronting the Shadow Education System (PDF), in Comparative Education Review, November 2010, 54(4): 608-611.

Yoshiko Nozaki, War Memory, Nationalism and Education in Postwar Japan, 1945-2007, in Pacific Affairs, Fall 2009, 82(3): 529-531.

Masako Shibata, Japan and Germany under the U.S. Occupation: A Comparative Analysis of Post-war Education Reform, in The Journal of Japanese Studies, Winter 2007, 33(1): 231-234.

Marie Roesgaard, Japanese Education and the Cram School Business: Functions, Challenges and Perspectives of the Juku, in H-Japan, November 20, 2006.

Aviad Raz, Emotions at Work: Normative Control, Organizations, and Culture in Japan and America, in Pacific Affairs, Fall 2004, 77(3): 580-81.

Curtis Anderson Gayle, Marxist History and Postwar Japanese Nationalism, in Pacific Affairs, Summer 2004, 77(2): 340-41.

Kozo Kato, The Web of Power: Japanese and German Cooperation Policy, in Pacific Affairs, Spring 2003, 76(1): 121-22.

Dengjian Jin, The Dynamics of Knowledge Regimes, in Contemporary Sociology, 2003, 32(2): 187-89.

James Orr, The Victim as Hero, in Bulletin of the School of African and Oriental Studies, October 2002, 65(3): 625.

Yoshikuni Igarashi, Bodies of Memory, in Monumenta Nipponica, Autumn 2002, 57(3): 389-91.

Sebastian Conrad, Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Nation [The Quest for the Lost Nation. Historiography in West Germany and Japan, 1945-60], in DIJ Newsletter, German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tôkyô, June 2000 (10).

Sebastian Conrad, Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Nation, in Minikomi, Akademischer Arbeitskreis Japan, Vienna, June 2000.

Mary Nolan, Visions of Modernity, in Contemporary Sociology, May 1995, 24(3): 387-388.


The Way Forward for Canadian Digital Diplomacy” in The Embassy, Nov 18, 2015.

Open Letter to Mongolian Political Leadership” in UB Post, Nov 24, 2014.

Unlocking Mongolia’s Potential” in UB Post, May 27, 2014

「一区一競技」でおもてなし” [One District, One Discipline Hospitality] (with Nanami Akimoto) in Asahi Shimbun, March 20 2014: 15.

In Defence of Twitter Diplomacy” in Embassy, Jan 9 2014: On-Line.

Mongolia’s Choice on Investments” in Wall Street Journal Asia. September 13, 2013: 10.

A Second Chance for Mongolia’s President” in Wall Street Journal Asia. July 3, 2013: 11.

Mongolian Politics – A Wrestling Match” beyond brics, Financial Times. June 25, 2013.

How to Leverage a Growing Relationship with Mongolia” in Embassy, Apr 25 2013: On-Line.

Harper Needs to Make Japan a PriorityNational Post. April 22, 2013.

Giving Power to the People of Mongolia” beyond brics, Financial Times. March 19, 2013.

Mongolia Doesn’t Have Resource Nationalism – For Now” beyond brics, Financial Times. February 5, 2013.

Foreign Investment to Mongolia: Restrictions and Comparisons with CanadaUB Post, Jan 14, 2013


蒙古寻求外商投资的多元化” [Mongolia to Seek Foreign Investment Diversification]. 21世纪经济报道 [21st Century Business Herald]. August 28, 2012: 19.

Mongolian Democracy Crawls, But Moves Ahead“. Wall Street Journal Asia. July 9, 2012: 15.

Exam Forces Students to Cram Irrelevant Facts“. Japan Times. February 3, 2012: 11.

While policymakers are looking elsewhere, Japanese education is being reformed from below“. Asahi Shimbun [English Web Edition]. June 16, 2010.

Canada’s Opportunity in Mongolia“. The Vancouver Sun. January 11, 2008: A9.

Revising History“. The Globe and Mail. May 13, 2005: On-Line.

with Yves Tiberghien “Shall We Dance?“. The Globe and Mail. January 18, 2005: A17.

Press Coverage

“Монголчуудын амьдралыг өөрчлөх асар том хэрэгсэл байгаа нь их чухал” and “Mongolians Must Ask Their Own Questions, Find Their Own Answers”. Mongolian Mining Journal. June 2014: 64-67 (Mongolian) and 80-83 (English).

Tamaki, Kenji. “「不安産業」の不安”. 毎日新聞. May 25, 2010. Also: “Japan’s ignored cram schools lack diversity, need reform”. Mainichi Daily News. May 26, 2010.

My professional activities have shifted from my training as a purely analytical social scientist (i.e., I think my research has implications, but it’s for others to figure out what those are), to a more engaged stance where I point to implications of my research and am increasingly engaging policy-makers directly.

Communicating Research

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 my curiosity about internet-based communication tools. From setting up the first social science webpage for my department in graduate school to recent attempts to keep up with new formats and their uses, I have 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 I am now writing about digital diplomacy or teaching policy communications, I do so from a mixed perspective as a research and practitioner. That is one of the reasons that I’m channeling my activities in this area mostly into blog posts and engagement with policy-makers.

Supplementary Education

In my hopes to develop opportunities for a more engaged involvement in the area of supplementary education, I have been largely frustrated, but that frustration in itself bears many lessons. Even though I remain convinced that supplementary education and its growth is a topic that policy-makers 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. I have felt that the Japanese and Japanese policy-makers (natural targets for conclusions from my research focused on Japan) have been particularly unwilling to consider the implications of supplementary education.

Strategic Analysis and Development of Mongolia

My research on contemporary Mongolia has led me to two areas of professional practice: political risk analysis, global indices, and development assistance.

Risk Analysis

The fact that Mongolia has established a functioning democracy following a revolution in 1990 is one of the aspects that have fascinated me about that country. Political developments are complicated, involve many players and have outsized implications for the fate of Mongolia. I often share my understanding of these political developments through the assessment of risks to investments, but also to future efforts in democratization.

Global Benchmarking

My attention to Mongolia has also brought me into contact with various efforts to benchmark political and social developments globally. As an example of such benchmarking, see the “Mongolia Scorecard” I maintain on the Mongolia Focus blog. Beyond an understanding of the construction of such indices, I also serve as the Mongolia analyst for a number of them.


Over my years of involvement with Mongolia, I have developed a generalist’s understanding of many aspects of that country’s development. Recently, through the establishment of the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute, I have embraced an opportunity to turn that understanding into efforts to improve human development outcomes and reduce poverty in Mongolia through a focus on providing more and better information about extractive sector governance to stakeholders. To maximize interchange between research, open communications, and these development activities we are also actively blogging about these activities.

I am active on Twitter @jdierkes where I mostly tweets about contemporary Mongolia.

I also tweet about #DigitalDiplomacy using @DirectDiplo.

I have been or am 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