Samuel Porter

Samuel PorterPhD candidate, History

Faculty advisors: Louise Young and Sarah Thal

Samuel is pursuing a PhD in History and writing his dissertation on the long process of Japan’s military demobilization after World War II. He argues that demobilization was protracted and incomplete, with the Allies deliberately delaying serviceman demobilization across China and Southeast Asia to combat communist and anti-colonial insurgencies. Furthermore, public hostility toward servicemen and occupation policies in Japan prevented veterans from successfully reintegrating into society once they were home.

For his dissertation, Samuel draws on coursework in East Asian history alongside professional experience working on U.S.-Japan relations and memory disputes in Asia.

“My approach to military history connects domestic social-politics with international geo-politics,” Samuel said. “My work also transcends the division of Japanese history-writing into prewar and postwar, a temporal division that is particularly salient for military history. Instead, I demonstrate the remarkable continuity in Japan’s engagement in military affairs in Asia beyond its defeat and the continued role that millions of demobilized servicemen played in shaping postwar Japanese society and popular attitudes towards war and pacifism.”

Samuel received a Mellon-Wisconsin Fellowship and a dissertation writing fellowship from the UW–Madison History Department. Previously, he also received a Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship as well as a Davis-Gerstein Research Fellowship from UW–Madison.