Henna-Riikka Pennanen profile picture
Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS)

Areas of expertise

U.S.-East Asia relations
international relations
U.S. foreign policy
threat perception
concept of Civilization
ideas of 'the West'


Starting from 2019, Pennanen is a TIAS (Turku Institute for Advanced Studies) postdoctoral researcher, working at the John Morton Center for North American Studies.

Henna-Riikka Pennanen received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Jyväskylä in 2015. Before joining the JMC in 2017, Pennanen held fixed-term positions as Post-Doctoral Researcher and Project Coordinator in the Department of History and Ethnology at the University of Jyväskylä. In her doctoral work, Pennanen specialized in 19th century conceptual and intellectual history and history of U.S.–East Asian relations. Pennanen’s Ph.D. dissertation analyzed U.S. conceptions of civilization in the context of 19th-century Chinese and Japanese studies. Her recent research themes include U.S. imaginations of the Japanese and Chinese “yellow peril,” the idea of "the West," and the liberal international order.


Pennanen is a teacher in the North American Studies program.


Pennanen's TIAS-research project "Rising Dragon, Rising Sun: A Century of Threat Perceptions of China and Japan in the United States" analyzes U.S. elite threat perceptions of China and Japan during three time periods from the turn of the 20th century to the present. The project contributes to international relations studies, U.S. cultural, political and social history, and transnational American studies. 


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