Douglas Howland

David D. Buck Professor of Chinese History

Office: Holton Hall, Room 330
Phone: (414) 229-5518


Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1989

Research Interests:

Westernization in East Asia; international law and state sovereignty in China and Japan; liberalism and popular sovereignty in the 19th century

Conference Organizer:

International Law and World Order: An International Conference, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, April 17-18, 2010

Teaching Areas:

Ancient China; modern China and Japan; law, sovereignty and the state; the rise of a global economy; historical methods

Courses Offered:

Hist 175: East Asian Civilization to 1600
Hist 176: East Asian Civilization Since 1600
Hist 376: History of Ancient China
Hist 377: The Rise of Modern China
Hist 378: Revolution in China
Hist 394: History of Japan to 1600
Hist 395: History of Japan Since 1600
several versions of HIST 372: Topics in Global History and HIST 402: Topics in Asian History.

Selected Publications and Awards:

“Japan and the Universal Postal Union: An Alternative Internationalism in the 19th Century,” Social Science Japan Journal 17.1 (Winter 2014): 23-39.

“International Law, State Will, and the Standard of Civilization in Japan’s Assertion of Sovereign Equality,” in Law and Disciplinarity: Thinking Beyond Borders, ed. Robert J. Beck (N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 183-205.

“The Maria Luz Incident: Personal Rights and International Justice for Chinese Coolies and Japanese Prostitutes,” in Gender and Law in the Japanese Imperium, ed. Susan L. Burns and Barbara J. Brooks (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2013), 21-47.

"An Englishman’s Right to Hunt: Territorial Sovereignty and Extraterritorial Privilege in Japan," Monde(s): histoire, espaces, relations, no. 1 (2012): 193-211.

"Popular Sovereignty and Democratic Centralism in the People’s Republic of China," Social Text, no. 110 (2012): 1-25.

"Contraband and Private Property in the Age of Imperialism," Journal of the History of International Law 13.1 (2011): 117-153.

"The Wisconsin-Milwaukee Conference on International Law and World Order: Introduction," Journal of the History of International Law 13.1 (2011): 1-5.

"Sovereignty and the Laws of War: International Consequences of Japan's 1905 Victory over Russis," Law and History Review 29.1 (2011): 53-97.

"The Dialectics of Chauvinism: Minority Nationalities and Territorial Sovereignty in Mao Zedong’s New Democracy," Modern China 37.2 (2011): 170-201.

"Japanese Neutrality in the Nineteenth Century: International Law and Transcultural Process," Transcultural Studies 1 (2010): 14-37. (

The State of Sovereignty: Territories, Laws, Populations, ed. Douglas Howland and Luise White (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009); including “The Foreign and the Sovereign: Extraterritoriality in East Asia,” 35-55.

"The Sinking of the S.S. Kowshing: International Law, Diplomacy, and the Sino-Japanese War," Modern Asian Studies 42.4 (2008): 673-703.

"Japan's Civilized War: International Law as Diplomacy in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895)," Journal of the History of International Law 9.2 (2007): 179-201.

Personal Liberty and Public Good: The Introduction of John Stuart Mill to Japan and China. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005).

Translating the West: Language and Political Reason in Nineteenth-Century Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2002.