The Reischauer Institute Postdoctoral Fellowships in Japanese Studies provide recent graduates with the opportunity to continue their doctoral research at Harvard and produce publishable work from their dissertations. The fellows participate in the Japanese studies community at Harvard, work with faculty and students, and present their research in the Japan Forum lecture series at some point during their stay.
The RIJS Postdoctoral Fellows for the 2023-24 academic year are as follows:
CAITLIN CASIELLO (Japanese Film & Media Studies, Yale University, 2023)
Dr. Caitlin Casiello researches the mediatization of sex and its role in transformations of identity and politics. She received her Ph.D. from the Combined Program in East Asian Languages and Literatures and Film and Media Studies at Yale University in 2023. She graduated with an M.A. from Harvard’s Regional Studies East Asia in 2015.
Her dissertation, “Sex on Screen in Japanese Cinema 1950s-1990s,” argues for the significance of sexuality as a defining limit on what film can and cannot show, driving audience attention and social changes around sex and gender in postwar Japan. The dissertation focuses on three different motifs in 20th century Japanese film: ama diving girls as erotic objects in 1950s film, childbirth and sexual education as potentially obscene images, and the creation of a Japanese queer cinema through LGBT community building such as LGBT film festivals. Each chapter combines historical research and close analysis with deep engagement with thinkers contemporary to the films to show how the problems caused by sex on screen touch on deeper issues in history. She is also interested in fan studies, otaku culture, and internet media. She is a strong believer in including public and artistic pursuits in scholarly life through work on films, podcasts, and writing for the general public.
At the Reischauer Institute, Dr. Casiello will be revising her dissertation into a book and, hopefully, watching a lot of movies.
MICHELLE HAUK (Modern Japanese History, Columbia University, 2023)
Dr. Michelle L. Hauk specializes in the history of architecture, technology, and society in twentieth-century Japan. She earned her Ph.D. in Japanese History from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University in 2023 and her M.Arch from Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) in 2015. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University and will begin her appointment as Assistant Professor of Architectural History and Theory at WashU in the fall of 2024.
Her dissertation, titled “Dwelling with Water: Tokyo Waterworks and the Remaking of the Urban Home, 1890–1990,” examines the crucial role that water has played in shaping Japan’s architectural and cultural history across the twentieth century. Tracing the flow of water from watershed to kitchen tap, this study considers how the renovation of Tokyo’s water supply system restructured communal practices surrounding water, how advancements in architectural design and technology influenced the ways families used water in the home, and how the state positioned the dwelling at the forefront of water-management campaigns. Her research shows that while advancements in the architectural and technological design of water in twentieth-century Japan made access to natural resources efficient, convenient, and hygienic, it also gradually obscured from view water’s origin and waste’s destination, significantly restructuring the relationship between human beings and the natural environment.
At the Reischauer Institute, Dr. Hauk will prepare her dissertation for publication as a book manuscript. She will also begin research for her second book project, which will trace the history of prefabricated housing in Japan.
MATTHEW KELLER (Japanese Religion, University of Southern California, 2022)
Dr. Matthew Keller received his Ph.D. in Religion from the University of Southern California in May 2022. Prior to his appointment at the Reischauer Institute, he served as a Dornsife Fellow in General Education at the University of Southern California. Dr. Keller specializes in medieval kami veneration and related vernacular literature, with a particular interest in the esoteric aspects of these.
His dissertation, “The Appeal of the Fox: The Cult of Inari and Premodern Japan,” examines the establishment and development of the cult of the kami Inari centered around the present-day Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto. While only occasionally referenced in court histories, the medieval period witnessed an explosion of engi, rituals, and festivals for the kami. Dr. Keller takes a thematic and inter-disciplinary approach, analyzing the traditions of Inari in historical, literary, ritual, and popular religious contexts. Throughout these themes, the dissertation demonstrates the techniques that authors used to reforge networks and transform this rice deity into a state-protector and eventually a god of good fortune for everyone.
At the Reischauer Institute, Dr. Keller will prepare his dissertation for publication as a book manuscript. He will also continue recent research on shrine and temple tree groves, literary depictions of mirrors, and religious themes in science fiction.
DANIEL SAID MONTEIRO (Early Modern Japanese History, Université Paris Cité, 2023)
Daniel Said Monteiro received his Ph.D. in East Asian Humanities at Université Paris Cité (University of Paris) in September 2023. Before joining the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University as a postdoctoral fellow, he spent four years as an international researcher of the Historical Institute at the University of Tokyo. His research focuses on global networks of knowledge circulation in the early modern period, with particular emphasis on intersecting cosmological views in Japan and East Asia.
His dissertation, “Monitored Connections: Transnational Nagasaki and the Circulation of Hybridized Cosmologies in Early Modern Japan (1630–1720),” counters the conventional understanding that Tokugawa Japan’s intellectual landscape was isolated from the rest of the world. It argues instead that Tokugawa scholars engaged with a wide range of cross-border knowledge systems, particularly through connections established via the heavily regulated port of Nagasaki. By centering on the role of censors as book curators and local interpreters as cultural mediators in the city, Dr. Said Monteiro shows how hybridized forms of cosmological thought shaped the local scholarship of Nagasaki and had long-lasting consequences for the development of novel epistemologies in Tokugawa Japan.
At the Reischauer Institute, Dr. Said Monteiro is refining his dissertation into a book-length monograph, further highlighting perspectives from scholars within Chinese-speaking communities of 17th-century Nagasaki in the wake of the Ming-Qing transition. He will also work on the foundations of his second book project, which looks into the impact of “civilizing” enterprises in different parts of the early modern world.