The Harold H. and Virginia Anderson Professor of History
- Harris 325
- Office Hours: By appointment only
Geographic Field(s): Asian History
Thematic Field(s): Political and Policy History; Urban History; Economic and Labor History; War and Empire in History
Principal Research Interest(s): Japan, Transnational, War and its Aftermath
Laura Hein (Ph.D., Wisconsin, 1986), the Harold H. and Virginia Anderson Professor of History, specializes in the history of Japan in the 20th century, its international relations, and the effects of WWII and the Cold War. Her most recent book is Post-Fascist Japan: Political Culture in Kamakura after World War II, Bloomsbury Press and a Weatherhead Institute Imprint book, 2018. A Japanese translation for Jinbun Shoin Press is in press, scheduled for 2023. It explores the efforts of her historical subjects to repair the damage done by what they described as fascism.
One of her research streams focuses on debates over economic policy and the implications of various economic theories. Her 2004 book Reasonable Men, Powerful Words: Political Culture and Expertise in 20th Century Japan, explores various ways in which economic expertise intersected with politics through a study of the lives of a tight-knit group of Japanese intellectuals. It was published in Japanese as 理性ある人びと 力ある言葉 ―― 大内兵衛グループの思想と行動. She also has published on economic policy, energy policy, and the ideology of economic growth in postwar Japan, particularly Fueling Growth: the Energy Revolution and Economic Policy in Postwar Japan, 1990, which began life as a dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently republished by Brill.
She also has a strong interest in problems of remembrance and public memory, resulting in five co-edited books, including Imagination Without Borders: Visual Artist Tomiyama Taeko and Social Responsibility, Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan, October 2010, which is centered on the work of a contemporary Japanese visual artist. This book was selected for permanent free on-line status in October 2019 by the University of Michigan Press through the Humanities Open Book project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Imagination Without Borders is accompanied by a trilingual website created by the Northwestern University Library Digital Scholarship Services. Earlier books focus on the atomic bomb, history education, transnational responses to 9.11, and the distinctive experience of Okinawans in postwar Japan.
Laura Hein is active as an editor and serves on the boards of several journals. Her current main editorial project is to oversee a new edition of The New Cambridge History of Japan, in press for 2023-24. The first volume, Premodern Japan: A Millennium of Evolving Themes, traces the archipelago’s history through the late sixteenth century. Volume two, Early Modern Japan in Asia and the World, carries the narrative into the late nineteenth century. The third volume, The Modern Japanese Nation and Empire, brings the story to the 21st century. She has won NEH, SSRC, ACLS, Japan Foundation, and three Fulbright research awards.
- General Editor of the 3-volume New Cambridge History of Japan and Editor of vol. 3 The Modern Japanese Nation and Empire, Cambridge University Press, vol 3 May 2023, vol 2 December 2023, vol 1 2024.
- Post-Fascist Japan: Political Culture in Kamakura after World War II, Bloomsbury Press and a Weatherhead Institute Imprint book, 2018. 『ポスト・ファシストの日本――戦後鎌倉の政治文化, Japanese translation for Jinbun Shoin Press in press, May 2023.
- Co-edited (with Rebecca Jennison) Imagination Without Borders: Visual Artist Tomiyama Taeko and Social Responsibility, Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan, October 2010. Imagination Without Borders is accompanied by a website created by the Northwestern University Library Digital Scholarship Services.
- Online review of Imagination Without Borders
- Reasonable Men, Powerful Words: Political Culture and Expertise in 20th Century Japan. University of California Press and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Press, 2004. Japanese edition from Iwanami Press：理性ある人びと力ある言葉ーー大内兵衛グループと行動、東京： 岩波書店、２００７年７月。
- Co-edited (with Daizaburō Yui) Crossed Memories: Perspectives on 9/11 and American Power, Center for Pacific and American Studies, The University of Tokyo, 2003. Wrote chapter: “Citizens, Foreigners, and the State: Japan-U.S. relations in the context of 9.11.”
- Co-edited (with Mark Selden) Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power, Rowman & Littlefield, April 2003. Wrote introduction, “Culture, Power, and Identity in Contemporary Okinawa."
- Online review of Islands of Discontent
- Co-edited (with Mark Selden) Censoring History: Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States, M.E. Sharpe, 2000. Wrote introduction, "The Lessons of War, Global Power, and Social Change." Korean edition in 2008. Chinese edition 2011. For information on Censoring History, visit Routledge Publications.
- A nice K-12 curriculum featuring this book is available at Columbia University's Expanding East Asian Studies page.
- Co-edited (with Mark Selden) Living with the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age, M.E. Sharpe, 1997. Wrote introduction and last chapter. Also available as an ebook. For information on Living with the Bomb, visit Routledge Publications.
- Fueling Growth: the Energy Revolution and Economic Policy in Postwar Japan, East Asian Monograph Series no. 147, Harvard University Press, February 1990.
- Trauma, Reconciliation, Social Justice, and Artistic Commentary: Tomiyama Taeko’s strategies for repair through her visual art,” in Jeff Kingston and Tina Burrett, eds. Commemorating and Contesting Trauma in East Asia, Routledge, 2023.
- “Okinawa Studies Today,” Critical Asian Studies, in Hein and Grunow, eds. "Okinawa Studies 50 Years After Reversion: History, Culture, Diaspora, and Identity" Critical Asian Studies, 54.4 (2022 December): 495-512.
Teaching InterestsUndergraduate Teaching
- Hein teaches several courses centered on modern Japan in its international context, such as The Modern Japanese City, and The World of Japan’s Empire as well as World War II in Asia. She also teaches a senior seminar on The Atomic Bomb, which focuses on both Japanese and American perspectives.
- As part of the East Asian History graduate group, Laura Hein trains students in modern Japanese history. She also teaches a graduate methods course on Mapping the Discipline. Please see the Graduate section of the Departmental webpage for recent information on students.
Recent Awards and Honors
- 2023 Northwestern University Provost Award for Exemplary Faculty Service for expanding studies of the non-Western world at the university.
- 2021-2022 Associated Student Government Faculty & Administrator Honor Roll for teaching.
- 2015-2016 Centenary Fellow, SOAS, University of London.
- 2014-2017 Osaka University Specially Appointed Professor of Research
- 2013 Northwestern Panhellenic Association Faculty Appreciation Award.