Professor Christoff joined the Asian and Asian American Studies faculty as a Lecturer in the fall of 2012. This first semester, Christoff is teaching 1) Ancient China; 2) Ethnicity and Ecology in China; and 3) Women in U.S.-Asian Relations. In the spring 2013, she will teach 1) Revolutionary China; 2) Science and Civilization in China; and 3) America’s Wars in Asia. In the summer of 2012, Christoff travelled to China to develop materials for a course on Urban Transformations in Shanghai.
Raised first in Charlottesville, Virginia and then in a rural community near St. Paul, Minnesota, Christoff attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate majoring in International Relations and achieving Chinese language certification. She received a dissertation research grant from the Pacific Cultural Foundation (Taiwan) to conduct field research in China; and received a doctorate in International Relations from the American University in Washington, D.C. (1984). After teaching for Boston University’s Graduate Program in International Relations in Europe (1985-1987) and for the University of Cincinnati (1988-1991), she became an independent scholar in Chicago’s Chinatown (1992-1999). Upon relocating to Washington, D.C. in 2000, Christoff pursued a career in government service that included helping to establish a scholarly center in the Library of Congress, The John W. Kluge Center, and managing China debates on Capitol Hill for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In 2007, she conducted research and wrote a report for use by the U.S. Department of Defense and, in 2009, was awarded a research grant from the East-West Center under the “Asia Matters for America” project. She subsequently received a travel-to-collections grant from the Wu Family Foundation, became a Lecturer at Towson University (2011-2012), and was awarded a Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE) grant to participate in faculty development summer seminar.
Professor Christoff’s interests include pedagogy in Asian and Asian American studies. Special topics are migration and displacement, cultural preservation, social transformation, and the changing roles of women. Her research investigates Asia’s historical connections to America by examining the activities of diplomats, politicians, missionaries, military personnel, self-identified Asian Americans, travelers, journalists, students, scientists, and scholars.
- Biographical entry of Shirley Geok-lin Lim, In Great Lives from History: Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (Salem Press, 2012)
- Tracking the Yellow Peril: The INS and Chinese Immigrants in the Midwest, (Picton Press, 2001)
- “An Archival Resource: INS Case Files on Chinese Women in the American Midwest,” in the Journal of Women’s History, (Indiana University Press, autumn, 1998)