Ian Jared Miller is a historian of Japan and East Asia. His research is primarily concerned with the cultural dimensions of scientific, technological, and environmental change. He earned his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 2005, arriving at Harvard in 2007. He has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Expanding East Asian Studies Program (ExEAS) at Columbia's Weatherhead East Asian Institute and Assistant Professor of History at Arizona State University. His research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Center for Global Research, the Japan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the United States Department of Education (Fulbright-Hays), and the Social Science Research Council.
Miller is the author of The Nature of the Beasts: Empire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo (University of California Press, 2013) and co-editor with Brett L. Walker and Julia Adeney Thomas of Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power (University of Hawaii Press, 2013). He is currently writing a book about energy and electricity in the making of modern Tokyo, Tokyo Electric: Japan in the Age of Global Energy. Based on archival work in the previously closed archives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), owner of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, this project redefines the history of the world's largest city--Tokyo--as a history of energy. Other research and teaching interests include transnational approaches to environmental history, the global history of natural disasters (especially tsunami), urban ecologies, comparative imperialisms, philosophies of action and agency, digital humanities, and the interdisciplinary study of embodiment, disease, and especially public health.
In addition to working with graduate students in the History Department, Professor Miller is also a member of the Standing Committee on History and East Asian Languages (HEAL). The HEAL program is designed to accommodate the particular needs of Ph.D. students who desire a more language-intensive program of study of East Asian history.
He is involved in a number of interdisciplinary initiatives on campus, notably the Energy History Project sponsored by the Joint Center for History and Economics and the MIT Research Group on History, Energy, and Environment and the Harvard Program on Science, Technology, and Society (STS).
Miller has offered general exam fields in comparative imperialism, environmental history (Asia/world), and Japanese history (early modern/modern).
- The Nature of the Beasts: Empire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo (University of California Press, 2013). With forward by Harriet Ritvo.
- Japan at Nature's Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013).
- “Bitter Legacy, Injured Coast,” New York Times, March 19, 2011
- "Didactic Nature: Exhibiting Nation and Empire at the Ueno Zoological Gardens" in JAPANimals: History and Culture in Japan's Animal Life Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan (2005)
Position: Associate Professor of History
Field: East Asia
Specialty: 19th- and 20th-century Japan and East Asia, especially cultural and environmental history; history of energy; comparative imperialism; history of science and technology
Center for Government and International Studies-South Building
1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Office Hours: Wednesday 10-12