About the Department

Susan Pharr

Susan Pharr

Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics

Susan J. Pharr is Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics. She is the Director of the WCFIA Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University. She joined the faculty in 1987, and served as chair of the Government Department, 1992-95, and as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 1996-98. At Harvard she is on the Steering Committee of the Asia Center and on the Executive Committee of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She is also a Senior Scholar of the Harvard Academy of International and Area Studies. Dr. Pharr received her Ph.D. in 1975 from Columbia University in political science. From 1974-76, she served as Staff Associate at the Social Sciences Research Council. 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 in Washington. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she has been a visiting scholar or fellow in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo and at Keio University; St. Antony's College, Oxford; the Woodrow Wilson International Center of Scholars, and the Brookings Institution. She also has served as a Senior Social Scientist with the Agency for International Development. Much of her research has explored the social basis for democracy with a particular focus on Japan and East Asia. Her research interests include comparative political behavior; comparative politics of industrialized nations; democratization and social change; Japanese foreign policy; political development; civil society and nonprofit organizations; political ethics and corruption; environmental politics; the role of the media in politics; the role of Japan and the U.S. in development; international relations in East Asia; and international political economy of development. Her current research focuses on forces shaping civil societies, including war and reconstruction, and the changing nature of relations between citizens and states in Asia. Among her works are Political Women in Japan (1981); Losing Face: Status Politics in Japan (1990); (with Ellis S. Krauss) Media and Politics in Japan (1996); (with Robert D. Putnam) Disaffected Democracies: What's Troubling the Trilateral Countries? (2000); and (with Frank J. Schwartz) The State of Civil Society in Japan (2003).

Email Address


Web Site

Susan Pharr



Office Locations

1730 Cambridge Street, CGIS South 238, Cambridge, MA 02138

Office Hours

By Appointment. To schedule an appointment, please email: Lauren Inch <linch@wcfia.harvard.edu>


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