Dr. John W. Dower, a leading scholar on Japan and the complex issues of war and peace that have involved it with the United States, has been selected as the inaugural holder of the Elting E. Morison Chair, a new professorship established in the Department of Humanities.
Provost Joel Moses, who announced Professor Dower's selection, said the appointment will be effective July 1.
The establishment of the Morison Professorship was announced in January by Professor Philip S. Khoury, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science. Professor Morison, a distinguished historian of science and technology, died in April 1995. A member of the MIT faculty for 35 years, he helped found the Program in Science, Technology and Society. Resources from the Arthur J. Conner (1888) Trust were used to establish the chair.
Professor Dower is the author of many books and articles on modern Japanese history and US-Japan relations. His 1986 book, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, is a comparative study of the racial and psychological aspects of the war from both Anglo-American and Japanese perspectives. It received the National Book Critics Circle Prize for nonfiction and the Ohira Memorial Prize for distinguished scholarship on Asia and the Pacific.
A collection of his scholarly articles and essays was published in 1994 under the title Japan in War and Peace. Professor Dower is now completing a book, tentatively titled Coming Out of War, dealing with Japan in the period immediately following World War II.
He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was the Joseph Naiman Professor of History and Japanese Studies at the University of California, San Diego, from 1986 to 1991, the year he joined MIT as the Henry Luce Professor of International Cooperation. From 1971 to 1986, he was a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Dr. Dower received the BA in American studies from Amherst College (1959) and the PhD in history and Far Eastern languages from Harvard (1972).
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 1, 1996.