Holly Stephens

Lecturer in Japanese and Korean Studies


Holly Stephens received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. As a historian of Korea and Japan, her research interests range widely to include economic history, agriculture, empire, everyday life, village organizations, and the emergence of the modern state. Her current monograph project—Empire by Association: The Re-Organization of the Rural Economy in Modern Korea—examines the changes to Korean agriculture from the late nineteenth century through the colonial period amidst immense political upheaval. Using previously unexamined farmers’ diaries, the project traces the formation and operation of new agricultural organizations that linked Korean farmers to regional and global markets, as new ideas about the state’s role in the economy and the adoption of scientific farming methods combined to transform agricultural production.

Before joining the University of Edinburgh, Holly was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University. 


Research summary

Holly's current researcch interests include:

  • History of everyday life in Japan and Korea
  • Economic history
  • History of agriculture
  • Capitalism and empire
  • Cooperatives and economic cooperation
  • Diaries
  • Intellectual history of economic thought