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John W. Dower - September 23, 2011

John W. Dower

Ford International Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"The Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq"

8:00 PM Friday, September 23, 2011
University Theatre

Widely considered the most distinguished modern Japan and Japanese-U.S. relations historian in the west, Pulitzer prize-winning author John W. Dower will draw parallels between the illusion-ridden Japanese high command prior to December 7, 1941 and the similarly afflicted Bush administration after September 11, 2001. Professor Dower also will compare the postwar occupations in explaining why American policies worked in Japan, but in Iraq have become a byword for fiasco.

You may also listen to a podcast of the lecture here

"Visualizing Cultures: Japan and China in the Modern World"

3:10 PM Friday, September 23, 2011
Gallagher Business Building 123

You are cordially invited to attend a seminar with John W. Dower. He obtained a Ph.D. in 1972 from Harvard University in History and Far Eastern Languages. Widely considered the most distinguished historian in the West of Modern Japan and of Japanese-U.S. relations, he has taught at MIT since 1991. His numerous publications include:                                  

War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (1987), which received the National Critics’ Circle Award and numerous other prizes

Empire and Aftermath (1988), a study of the life and times of the diplomat and later prime minister, Yoshida Shigeru

Japan in War and Peace: Selected Essays (1995)

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (1999), which won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bancroft Prize in American History, the John K. Fairbank Prize in Asian History, and numerous other awards

Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq (2010), a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, in which he examines these four events for what they reveal about the failures of intelligence, wars of choice, strategic miscalculation, faith-based secular thinking, the targeting of non-combatants, and the allure of mass destruction

Professor Dower is also the founder and co-director of the on-line “Visualizing Cultures” project established at MIT in 2002 and dedicated to the presentation of image-driven scholarship on East Asia in the modern world. In 2004, he received a $1.5 million Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award in support of the Visualizing Cultures project.  Long interested in film, he is recognized as a pioneer for his scholarly use of visual materials and other expressions of popular culture. He also has a distinguished movie credit as a producer, for Hellfire: A Journey from Hiroshima, a documentary film that was nominated for an Academy Award.