October 19, 2004
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.-John Dower, the John J. McCloy '16 Professor of American Institutions and International Relations at Amherst College and the Ford International Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will deliver a lecture on "Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9/11" on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 4:30 p.m. in the Cole Assembly Room at Amherst College. The event will be free and open to the public.
Dower, a 1959 graduate of Amherst who earned a Ph.D. in history and far eastern languages from Harvard University, is a leading scholar of modern Japan and US-Japan relations. His most recent book, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (1999), was a "magisterial, beautifully written account of Japan between August 1945 and April 1952 [that] assesses the impact of Allied activity on modern Japanese history," according to a reviewer in The New York Times. It received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Bancroft Prize.
Beyond his scholarly work, Dower has engaged in the public debate over American historical memory and foreign policy, especially the role of racial prejudice in stimulating mass violence, and the moral implications of massive bombing of civilians. He has been speaking out recently about the analogies, or lack of them, between the occupation of Iraq and the occupation of Japan.
Dower has also broken new ground in his scholarly use of visual materials and other expressions of popular culture in reexamining Japanese and US-Asian history. His publications include War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (1986), which was honored with several prizes; Empire and Aftermath (1979), a study of the life and times of the diplomat and later prime minister Yoshida Shigeru; and Japan in War and Peace: Selected Essays (1993). He also was the executive producer of a documentary film Hellfire-A Journey from Hiroshima, which was nominated in 1988 for an Academy Award.
The John J. McCloy '16 Professorship was established at Amherst College in 1983 to honor John J. McCloy and his outstanding career of service and accomplishment in American politics and international diplomacy. Dower will deliver the second McCloy lecture in the spring. Dower's visit is hosted by the Department of History at Amherst College.