Profile of <span>Max Ward</span>
Office
Axinn Center 342
Tel
(802) 443-5682
Email
maxw@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Spring 2022: On Leave

Max Ward received his PhD in 2011 from New York University and teaches courses on the history of East Asia and Japan, and seminars on theories of modernity, police power, cinema, and global fascism, among other topics. He is the author of Thought Crime: Ideology and State Power in Interwar Japan (Duke 2019) and co-editor of Transwar Asia: Ideology, Practices, Institutions 1920-1960 (Bloomsbury 2022) and Confronting Capital and Empire: Rethinking Kyoto School Philosophy (Brill 2017). He has also published articles and chapters on a variety of topics including postcolonial theory, conceptions of police power in prewar Japan, postwar Japanese cinema, and criminal rehabilitation in transwar Japan. His research has been awarded a number of grants and fellowships, including: Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities-Japan US Friendship Commission, the Japan Foundation, Northeast Asia Council of the AAS and the American Philosophical Society.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Postwar Japanese History in Film and Literature
In this seminar we will study the history of postwar Japan (1945 to the present), focusing on how literature and film have engaged the defining historical and political questions of this period. The seminar is organized around
specific themes, including: trauma and war memory, the Allied occupation, the cold war in East Asia, high economic growth in the 1960s, political protest, post-coloniality, and a resurgent nationalism. Students will learn postwar Japanese history while also considering the possibilities of persuing historical analysis through translated literature and narrative film. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2020

Requirements

AAL, CW, HIS, NOA

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Course Description

History of Pre-Modern Japan
In this course we will explore the social, cultural, and institutional history of Japan from the eighth century up through the rise of the Tokugawa shogunate in the 17th century. The course is organized thematically to illuminate the different periods of Japanese history, including the imperial origin myth and Heian culture, the frontier and the rise of samurai government, localism and the warring states period, and finally the Tokugawa settlement and the paradoxes of centralized feudalism. Pre-1800. 3 hrs. lect/disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

AAL, HIS, NOA, SOC

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Course Description

Global Fascism
What was, or is, fascism? How do we know it when we see it? Can fascism be understood as an exclusively European phenomenon, or did it become manifest in movements and regimes in other parts of the twentieth-century world? In this seminar, we will engage with such questions via a range of texts including manifestos, films, and scholarly works. The first part of the course will interrogate seminal theories of fascism, the second will examine historical instances of fascism with particular emphasis on East Asia, and the final part will engage with debates about the contemporary resurgence of authoritarian populism. 3 hrs. Sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

AAL, CMP, HIS, NOA

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Course Description

Tokyo: Between History and Utopia
In this course we will explore the history of Tokyo—from its "prehistory" as a small castle town in the 16th century to the cosmopolitan metropolis of the 20th century—and trace how Tokyo has captured the imagination as a space of possibility, of play, and for many, of decadence. Through a range of sources, including films, novels, ethnographies, and historical essays, we will use Tokyo as a "site" (both urban and ideological) through which to explore broader questions related to capitalist modernity, the formation of the nation-state, cultural identity, gender politics, and mass-culture. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021

Requirements

AAL, HIS, NOA, SOC

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Course Description

Modernity and its Critique: A Global Survey
What do we mean when we refer to “modernity”? What are the defining processes and institutions of modernity? Is modernity universally experienced? And is modernity itself historical? In this seminar we will explore how a variety of thinkers from different regions and time-periods sought to understand the foundational institutions and processes associated with modernity, including the nation-state, colonialism, and ideology. Our exploration will follow two interrelated trajectories. First, we will interrogate key concepts associated with the modern experience; second, we will pay attention to how thinkers formulated these concepts to answer the pressing questions of their contemporary moment. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

CMP, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Police Power: Theory and History
As Egon Bittner once stated, the police are “at once the best known and the least understood” of the institutions of modern government. In this seminar students begin by reading introductions to theories of modern state power, and then turn to exploring how the police manifest this power at the local level. In the second half of the semester, we will read histories of police forces with special emphasis on the formation of the police in East Asia. We conclude by reviewing recent theories of the police for the twenty-first century. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

EUR, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Special research projects may only be taken during the Junior or Senior year, preferable after taking HIST 0600. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Independent Study I
The optional History Senior Thesis is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. Approval is required. Students submit thesis proposals in the spring before the year that they choose to write their thesis. Students generally begin their thesis in the fall and complete it during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring. All students must attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops in fall and winter semesters and work with a faculty advisor to complete a 55-70 page paper. Please see detailed guidelines under history requirements.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Independent Study II
With departmental approval, senior history majors may write a two-term thesis under an advisor in the area of their choosing. The final grade is applied to both terms. Students must submit thesis proposals in the spring before the academic year that they choose to write their thesis. They must attend the Thesis Writers' Workshops held in the fall and winter of the academic year in which they begin the thesis. The department encourages students to write theses during the fall (0700) and winter terms (0701), but with the permission of the chair, fall/spring and winter/spring theses are also acceptable. Under exceptional circumstances, the department may approve a thesis initiated in the spring of an academic year and finished in the fall of the following year. Further information about the thesis is available from the department.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Police Aesthetics in Japanese Film
In this course students will consider theories of police power in modern society while analyzing its representation in Japanese cinema. Each week we will begin with readings about one aspect of police power, and will then consider this aspect when analyzing a set of Japanese films. The objectives of the course are for students: (1) to gain a more multifaceted understanding of the police function in modern society, (2) to learn the general history of the Japanese police system, and (3) to cultivate an appreciation of Japanese film and its possibilities for critical reflection.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

AAL, HIS, NOA, SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Qualified students may be permitted to undertake a special project in reading and research under the direction of a member of the department. Students should seek an advisor and submit a proposal to the department well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

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Course Description

Honors Thesis
Students write a thesis in English with a synopsis in Japanese on literature, film, or culture. The topic for the thesis is chosen in consultation with the instructor. (JAPN 0475)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

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