Meredith Oda, Ph.D.

Grace A. Griffen Endowed Chair in American History; Associate Professor
Meredith Oda


Meredith Oda's research is concerned with the emerging field of the Pacific world, particularly the ways in which transpacific networks and developments were engaged in the local texture of cities, communities and everyday life. Her book, The Gateway to the Pacific: Japanese Americans and the Remaking of Transpacific San Francisco (Chicago Press) traces the development of San Francisco's postwar transpacific urbanity - the metropolis' urban life - in order to tell the story of the city's relations with and ideas about Japan in the decades following the Pacific War. It also argues that those were made within and remade the intimate, local sites of home, neighborhood, civic life and identity. Oda's book is therefore a deep local study illuminating the many ways that people experience the world and make sense of global shifts through the familiar spaces of home, community and city.

Currently, she is working on a second book project that examines Japanese American resettlement from World War II incarceration camps. In this book, she aims to understand the shifting identities and institutions of alienage before the 1952 Walter-McCarran Act (when Japanese migrants shed the status of "aliens ineligible for citizenship" and became eligible for migration and naturalization).

Oda's research interests inform her teaching. Her courses cover the histories of Asian Americans in the United States, the U.S. in the world and the various entanglements of the United States in the Pacific region and Asia. Her graduate seminars explore urban history, transnationalism, the 20th century United States and citizenship and alienage.


  • 20th century U.S. history
  • U.S. in the world
  • Asian American history
  • Urban history
  • U.S./Japanese relations

Courses Taught

  • CH 203: American Experiences and Constitutional Change
  • HIST 102: United States History, 1865 to the Present
  • HIST 213: Asian American History
  • HIST 403A/603A: Culture, Tourism, and Imperialism: Hawai'i in the American Imagination
  • HIST 407A: Foreign Relations I (Globalizing US History)
  • HIST 407B: Foreign Relations II (The United States in the Pacific World)
  • HIST 415C/615C: United States History, 1877-1945
  • HIST 722: Seminar in 20th Century U.S. History
  • HIST 724: Topical Seminar in US History (Transnational History)
  • HIST 783: Historiography


  • The Gateway to the Pacific: Japanese Americans, Japan, and the Remaking of Transpacific San Francisco (2018, University of Chicago Press, "Historical Studies of Urban America" series).
  • "Masculinizing Japan and Reorienting San Francisco: The Osaka-San Francisco Sister-City Affiliation During the Early Cold War." Diplomatic History 41 (June 2017): 460-488.
  • "Rebuilding Japantown: Japanese Americans in Transpacific San Francisco During the Cold War." Pacific Historical Review 83 (2014): 57-91.


  • Ph.D., 2010, University of Chicago
  • B.A. 1999, University of California, Berkeley