Jennifer M. Miller

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor of History

Jennifer M. Miller is a scholar of U.S. foreign relations since 1945, focusing on interactions between the United States and Northeast Asia. Her research examines the intersections between foreign policy and domestic ideas, ideologies, and political narratives; her work explores how new interactions between America and East Asia after World War II transformed both sides’ thinking about security, democratic order, citizenship, and economic vitality.  Miller received her Ph.D. in the history of U.S. foreign relations and international history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012.  She currently offers courses on the history of U.S. foreign relations, the Cold War, and World War II in the Pacific

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Professor Miller’s first book, Cold War Democracy: The United States and Japan (Harvard University Press, 2019), offers a new interpretation of the postwar U.S.-Japanese relationship, one of the United States’ most significant international alliances. It argues that this alliance was not simply the product of American economic or security interests, but that it was fundamentally shaped by American and Japanese ideas about the values and practices necessary to build democracy. Drawing from research in government archives and materials from labor unions, intellectuals, philanthropic organizations, and activist groups, it argues that the Cold War fostered new ideas about democracy, specifically the belief that democracy was not simply political or institutional but also psychological. This emphasis on “spirit” over democratic practice offered a crucial language of reconciliation between American policymakers and conservative Japanese leaders in the aftermath of a massive war. Yet this shared governmental vision was heavily contested by Japanese activists, who articulated their own visions of democracy premised on active citizenship and government accountability to the people. These beliefs fuelled large-scale protests against the U.S.-Japanese alliance that altered the alliance’s security provisions. Bringing together the history of foreign relations, popular protest, and democratic thought, this book provides a new understanding the trans-Pacific Cold War order, and the impact of democratic visions, both domestic and foreign, on the conduct of U.S foreign policy.  Portions of this research have been published in the Journal of Contemporary History, Diplomatic History, and in an edited volume entitled The Power of the Past.

Professor Miller also writes about the contemporary relevance of the U.S.-Japanese relationship for American understandings of globalization, international power, and hegemony.  Her most recent article, which explores how Japan’s economic rise in the 1970s and 1980s shaped President Donald Trump’s approach to international trade and globalization, can be found here.  She is currently working on an article that explores neo-conservative thinking about East Asian growth and the nature of capitalism in the 1970s and 1980s.

The author of two oral history collections on the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Professor Miller is also a faculty leader of the Dartmouth Vietnam Project.

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(603)646-2523
410 Carson Hall
6107
Department(s): 
History
Education: 
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A. Wesleyan University

Selected Publications

Cold War Democracy: The United States and Japan.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2019.

U.S.-Japan Relations,” The Oxford Research Encyclopedia in American History.  April 2019.

Let’s not be laughed at anymore: Donald Trump and Japan from the 1980s to the Present,” Journal of American-East Asian Relations 25:2 (2018): 138 – 168.

“Narrating Democracy: The Potsdam Declaration and Japanese Rearmament, 1945 – 1950” in Jeremi Suri and Hal Brands, ed. The Power of the Past: History and Statecraft (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2015), 99 – 132.

Fractured Alliance: Anti-Base Protests and Postwar U.S.-Japanese Relations,” Diplomatic History 38:5 (November 2014): 953 – 986 [doi: 10.1093/dh/dht122].

“The Struggle to Rearm Japan: Negotiating the Cold War State in U.S.-Japanese Relations,” Journal of Contemporary History 46:1 (January 2011): 82 – 108.

Works in progress

“Adam Smith’s Arthritis: Japan and Fears of American Decline” in Jonathan Hunt and Simon Miles ed., Reagan’s World: The Cold War and Beyond.  Currently under review.

“Building a Capitalist Consciousness: Japan and Visions of Capitalist Asia” in Christopher Dietrich ed., The American Way: Capitalism and Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century. Currently under review.