Postdoctoral Fellow Applications
We seek applications from outstanding scholars in the social sciences who are conducting research that illuminates Japan's relations with the rest of the world in the broadest sense. Thus, we welcome applicants from anthropology, economics, (modern) history, law, political science, public health, and sociology, among other fields. Scholars may examine domestic issues that bear on Japan's external relations or problems that it shares with other countries, and we encourage projects that compare Japan's experience cross-nationally.
During their term of appointment, Postdoctoral Fellows have an option to teach an undergraduate course at Harvard during the fall or spring semester. Having a record of teaching at Harvard may enhance a Postdoctoral Fellow’s professional credentials in the academic job market. Areas of particular interest include Japanese popular culture; Japanese imperialism/ war memory; gender and politics in East Asia; political economy of Japan; and Japanese Americans in history, culture, politics, and/or society. Broader courses that include, but are not limited to, Japan are especially encouraged. If you are interested in teaching a course, please submit a brief teaching statement on your teaching interest (see “The Application Process” below). Please note: whether the applicant expresses an interest in teaching has no impact on the evaluation of her/his application.
The Fellowship Grant
- Fellows spend a ten-month period in residence at Harvard that typically begins in September.
- Depending on need, the stipend amounts to as much as: $50,000, and Harvard University Group Health Plan insurance coverage for one. Although these fellowships are normally reserved for scholars for whom the stipend represents their sole source of support, the Program will consider supplementing other grants.
- Awardees must complete all requirements of their doctoral degree to receive a fellowship. If a successful applicant has not already earned a Ph.D. at the time of his or her application, the applicant's advisers must submit a formal letter to the effect that he or she "has completed all the requirements of the Ph.D." by August 1. The letter must include that precise wording, and no mitigating circumstances will be considered. Because advisers may not be prepared to confirm this until they have collectively approved the dissertation and all required changes have been made to put it in its final (deposit) form, we strongly urge you to schedule your defense, if it is still pending, by July 1. No funds can be disbursed until such a letter is received, and the fellowship will be reduced by one-tenth for each month's delay. Depending on the length of the delay, a prospective fellow may be asked to begin the Program in the second semester, and in extreme cases, the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations reserves the right to revoke the fellowship altogether.
- Candidates must hold a doctoral or other terminal degree in a discipline bearing on the Program’s research areas. Research projects that focus on Japan or Japan’s international role from a comparative, historical, or global perspective are welcome. A knowledge of the Japanese language is not required.
- Because a major aim of the fellowship is to provide talented researchers based outside Japan with an opportunity to carry on a dialogue with the Japanese scholars, officials, businesspeople, and journalists who join the Program each year, preference will be given to non-Japanese.
The Application Process
- Submit a curriculum vitae and the application form along with one or two publications, or drafts of journal articles and dissertation chapters (preferably publications relevant to the proposed research).
- Submit letters of recommendation from three people, at least one of whom is based in the United States, who are knowledgeable about the applicant's scholarly work.
If you are interested in teaching an undergraduate course, please submit a brief statement (up to a page) on your teaching interests, and on your ideas about two to three undergraduate courses you might teach, with a sentence or two on how you might approach each if you were to offer it.
- Complete applications must be submitted by January 15 to usjapan.wcfia(at)gmail.com. Please format the subject line of your email "US-Japan Program Application, Applicant's last name, first name."
Responsibilities of Postdoctoral Fellows
- Fellows are expected to take part in all Program activities throughout the academic year.
- Fellows are required to present their research findings at a Program seminar and to submit a 40 to 50-page research paper on a relevant topic for possible inclusion in the Program's Occasional Papers series. This does not preclude publication of the same research elsewhere.
- Because fellows are expected to devote themselves full-time to a major research project, working elsewhere during one's tenure at Harvard is not permitted.
Postdoctoral Fellowship Application Form
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