Aaron Kingsbury


Assistant Professor of Arts and Sciences, Maine Maritime Academy

Dr. Kingsbury has a Bachelor of Arts in German literature from the George Washington University in Washington D.C., a Master of Arts in geography from Simon Fraser University in Canada, and a Master of Science in international ecological agriculture from the University of Kassel in Germany. His PhD in geography came from the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he focused on the grape and wine industries of Japan. Dr. Kingsbury was an Assistant Professor of Geography for five years at a university in rural North Dakota before coming to Maine Maritime Academy in 2018. He serves as a research advisor for the Agriculture and Forestry Research & Development Center for Mountainous Regions in Vietnam, and has been involved in agricultural and/or development research in Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Myanmar, Mongolia, Germany, Romania, Canada, and the United States. His research interests include Asian Studies (especially Japan, contemporary northern Vietnam, and Mongolia), food and agriculture, wine and tea production, rural places, interpreting history from landscapes, locations of primary resource extraction, and geospatial technologies (including sUAVs or drones). He is a fan of all things cephalopod.


  • “Vietnam Today”

    For many Americans, our perception of and possibly even engagement with Vietnam was formed by and remains linked to the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 70s. That was almost 50 years ago! So, what’s life like in Vietnam today? If we look to Hollywood, we continue to see storylines occurring in war-era Vietnam, void of likeable or even realistic Vietnamese characters. This has furthered a progression of negative stereotypes and left many with apathetic (or worse), inaccurate, and hopelessly antiquated views of a country undergoing considerable economic development and social change. This presentation explores life in contemporary Vietnam, and focuses in particular on the northern part of the country. In so doing, it situates both former President Obama and President Trump’s policies on Vietnam in line with renewed American political, economic, and cultural interests in the country and region.

  • “What Can Rural America Learn from Rural Japan?”

    The United States and Japan are highly industrialized countries, yet both often struggle to maintain economically and socially viable rural communities. This presentation explores ‘rurality’ from the Japanese perspective. It takes a long look at the Japanese countryside, from its stereotypical and terraced landscapes of rice paddies to its thatched villages in isolated mountain hamlets. Within this setting, we will explore the other reality, including Japan’s aging population and abandoned communities. With special attention paid to the people involved in Japanese agriculture, forestry, and coastal fisheries, we will try to see what we can learn from rural Japan to improve rural America.