Brian Hammer joined SIT Study Abroad as academic dean for Asia and the Pacific in the fall of 2012. To this position, Brian brings several years of experience as an academic administrator and study abroad director, as well as study, research, and travel experience in Asia, especially in China. He has a PhD in geography from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Immediately prior to his position with SIT Study Abroad, Dr. Hammer served as associate director of programs in the Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University, where he served as the center's primary administrator and budget officer. He also organized and led relationship-building trips to China for Rice University faculty and deans and collaborated with numerous offices and research centers on campus to promote and develop international initiatives. He served as research administrator and internship program advisor for the newly created Houston Asian American Archive oral history and artifact collection project, which involved extensive community relationship building and program development. He played a role in Asian studies curriculum development and worked with undergraduate students as a major advisor and with graduate students as an advisor on the Transnational Asia Graduate Student Conference. He also organized a two-year interdisciplinary panel series, titled The Sustainable City, involving scholars and practitioners from the humanities, social sciences, urban planning, and medical fields.
Informing his academic and administrative work is a commitment to interdisciplinarity. This means building relationships and networks out of which long-term collaboration, substantive dialogue, and the possibility of creative problem solving can grow.
Dr. Hammer's graduate studies in human geography at the University of Washington in Seattle focused on three broad themes: the politics of development; urban space; and socioeconomic inequality. This work culminated in a dissertation project focused on community building as a policy initiative integral to economic and cultural restructuring in urban China. Geographically focused on Shanghai, with subsidiary research in Wuhan, his dissertation discussed the work that culture does in delimiting urban space in a particular historical moment, always understanding urban space as linked to and in part defined by the nonurban. He holds a bachelor's degree in Chinese and international development from Washington University in Saint Louis and a certificate in Chinese studies from The Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies at Nanjing University, China.