Louise Young

Position title: Professor of History

Email: louiseyoung@wisc.edu

Phone: 608.263.1829

Office: 4102 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 4022 Mosse Humanities
Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:00-3:00pm (online) and by appointment

Louise Young headshot


I am a social and cultural historian of modern Japan. My research and teaching interests include Japanese international relations, World War Two in Asia, comparative imperialism, and urban history.  I am currently working on two book projects.  The Idea of Class in Modern Japan is a social and intellectual history of the transition from a feudal status system to a modern class hierarchy, 1860-1940. Rethinking Japanese Imperialism examines Japan in the world as a history of the present, tracing this history from the forced opening of the Japanese market in the mid nineteenth century to the current conjuncture, with the rise of neo-nationalisms in Asia and the challenge to the neo-liberal world order.


Ph.D., Columbia University
M.A., Columbia University
B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison


Selected Publications

  • “When Fascism Met Empire in Japanese-occupied Manchuria,” (pdf) in special issue on Axis Empires: toward a global history of fascist imperialism, Journal of Global History, Vol.12, no. 2 (June 2017): 274-296.
  • “Rethinking Empire in the Twentieth Century: Lessons from
Imperial and Post-imperial Japan,” (pdf) in The Oxford Handbook of the Ends of Empire, eds., Andrew Thompson and Martin Thomas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • “Urban Life and the City Idea in the Twentieth Century,” in Handbook of Modern Japanese History, eds., Christopher W.A. Szpilman and Sven Saalar. London: Routledge, 2017.
  • “Japan’s New International History,” (pdf) introduction to AHR Forum: Early- Twentieth-Century Japan in a Global Context, American Historical Review, 119, 4 (October 2014): 1117-1129.
  • “Ideologies of Difference and the Turn to Atrocity: Japan’s War on China,” in A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945, eds., Roger Chickering, Stig Forster, and Berndt Greiner. London: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • “Japan at War: History-writing on the Crisis of the 1930s”, in The Origins of the Second World War, Reconsidered (Rev. ed., Routledge 1999).
  • “Marketing the Modern: Department Stores, Consumer Culture and the New Middle Class in Interwar Japan”, in International Labor and Working-Class History (No. 55, Spring 1999)

Advisor To

History Courses

  • History 104 – Introduction to East Asian History: Japan – Syllabus 2017 (pdf)
  • History 200 – Historical Studies: The Atomic Bomb in American and Japanese History – Syllabus 2021 (pdf)
  • History 201 – The Historian’s Craft: How Do Empires End? Defeat, Occupation and Post-Imperial Japan – Syllabus 2021 (pdf)
  • History 455 – Japans Modern Century, 1853-1952: Rise & Fall of the Imperial State
  • History 456 – Japan and World War Two in Asia – Syllabus 2020 (pdf)
  • History 500 – Reading Seminar: Japanese Imperialism – Syllabus 2023 (pdf)
  • History 500 – Reading Seminar: The Atomic Bomb in American and Japanese History – Syllabus 2021 (pdf)
  • History 600 – Militarism and Fascism in Japan – Syllabus 2007 (pdf)
  • History 600 – Japanese Urbanism – Syllabus 2011 (pdf)
  • History 680/690 – Honors Thesis Colloquium
  • History 703 – History and Theory
  • History 710 – Professional Development Seminar – Grant Writing Proposals – Syllabus 2023 (pdf)
  • History 725 – Seminar in East Asian History: Postimperial Japan and Asia – Syllabus 2020 (pdf)
  • History 855 – Historiography of Modern Japan – Syllabus 2020 (pdf)
  • History 855 – Theory/History/Japan – Syllabus 2022 (pdf)
  • History 855 – Modern Japan as Chronotope – Syllabus 2017 (pdf)