Susan J. Pharr's Biography

Susan J. Pharr is the Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics in the Department of Government, Harvard University.  At Harvard she is director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Dr. Pharr joined the Harvard faculty in 1987. She was Chair of the Government Department 1992-1995, and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences 1996-1998.  She received her Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University in 1975.  From 1974-76, she served as a Staff Associate at the Social Sciences Research Council in New York.  Thereafter, until 1986, she was on the faculty of the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  From 1985-87, on a leave from Wisconsin, she held the Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.  A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she has been a visiting scholar or fellow in the Faculty of Law of University of Tokyo and of Keio University; the Woodrow Wilson International Center of Scholars; the Brookings Institution; and St. Antony’s College, Oxford University.  She has also served as Senior Social Scientist with the Agency for International Development.

Much of her research has explored the social basis for democracy in Japan and East Asia, and the origins and development of civil society and its role in social and political change worldwide, particularly in Asia.  Her research interests include comparative political behavior; Japanese politics; Japanese foreign policy and the international relations of East Asia; domestic and international NGOs in politics; comparative politics of industrialized nations; democratization and social change in Japan and Asia; political ethics and corruption; environmental politics; the role of the media in politics; women and politics; the role of Japan and the United States in development, and the international political economy of development.

Her current research focuses on the forces shaping civil societies, and the changing nature of relations between citizens and states in Asia.