Steven Wills, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Steven Wills, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
History Department Chair
Modern Japanese History
Department
History
Office location

Old Main 311

Office hours

By appointment

Phone

(402) 465-2443

Background

My main research interest is the social and cultural history of Tokyo in the 19th and 20th centuries. My dissertation focused on fire and firefighting in the city during the Edo period (1603-1868), and I am currently conducting research on the city's various responses to its fire problem after the 1868 Meiji Restoration.

Education

Columbia University:

  • Ph.D., 2010. East Asian Languages and Cultures.
    • Dissertation: “Fires and Fights: Urban Conflagration, Governance, and Society in Edo-Tokyo, 1657-1890”
  • M.Phil., 2006. East Asian Languages and Cultures.
    • Fields: premodern Japanese history, modern Japanese history, early modern Japanese literature, environmental history
  • M.A., 2004. East Asian Languages and Cultures.
    • Master’s Thesis: “Fissures in the Road: Conflicting Views of Modern Japan Seen in Responses to the Great Kanto Earthquake”

University of Puget Sound:

  • B.A., 1997. English Literature.
Courses taught
  • HIST 1110 [DI-GL, Going Global].............World Civilizations: A Survey of the Global Twentieth Century

  • HIST 2800/3800 [WI].................................. Collective Memory and the Historian’s Craft

  • HIST 2810 [WI, DI-GL, Identity]................ Introduction to East Asian History

  • HIST 2820 [WI, DI-GL]................................ Introduction to Japanese History

  • HIST 2830 [WI, DI-GL]................................ Modern Chinese History

  • HIST 3840/4840............................................Meiji: The Making of Modern Japan

  • HIST 3850/4850..........................................Twilight of the Samurai: Early Modern Japan

  • HIST 3860/4860..........................................Japanese Popular Culture, Past & Present

  • IDS 1010......................................................The Fourth Estate: Media and Society in the Age of “Alternative Facts”

  • INTST 2410.................................................Experiencing the Culture of Japan (2-week study trip to Japan)

Course schedule

Fall 2021

  • HIST 3850/4850 [WI, DI-GL]................................ Twilight of the Samurai: Early Modern Japan
  • IDS 1010................................................................The Climate Crisis: A Crash Course

Spring 2022

  • HIST 1110 [DI-GL, Going Global].........................World Civilizations: A Survey of the Global Twentieth Century
  • HIST 2830 [WI, DI-GL] ............................................Modern Chinese History
Research and academic interests
  • History of humans and the environment
  • Disaster history
  • Urban social/cultural history
  • Collective memory
  • History of the news