William Johnston

William Johnston's picture
CEAS Associate-in-Research
Wesleyan University
Areas of interest : 
Modern Japan History; Syphilis in Early Modern Japan; Warfare and State Formation in Sixteenth Century Japan; The Historiography of Amino Yoshihiko

William D. Johnston is currently Professor of History at the Department of History, Wesleyan University. He received his M.A. (1981) in Regional Studies, East Asia and Ph.D. (1987) in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University. He joined the faculty at Wesleyan in 1988 and has since served as Director of the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies and Chair of the East Asian Studies Program (1996-1998, 1999-2000), as well as Chair of the History Department (2006-2009), and of the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures (2011-2013).  Most recently, Johnston was the Edwin O. Reischauer Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Harvard University (2014-2015).  Johnston’s research interests include the study of syphilis in early modern Japanese warfare and state formation in sixteenth century Japan, and the historiography of Amino Yoshihiko.  At present, he is working on a history of cholera in nineteenth century Japan to show how the disease acted as an agent of change and transformed how the state began to influence people’s lives in unprecedented ways through public health and police actions aimed at the control of epidemic disease.