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Elijah Bender

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"It is important to draw wisdom from many different sources. Otherwise, it becomes rigid and stale."

In Matsumoto, Japan 2014-2015


PhD Candidate
BA Missouri State (2005), MA University of Hawaii-Manoa (2008)

Office: HSSB 3220

Advisor: Luke Roberts

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I study environmental management in premodern Japan. My current project examines the evolution of resource disputes in a particular province during a period of dramatic change in Japanese society. My work is primarily from regional, social, and economic perspectives. I enjoy translation, and I like to teach and get students thinking.

Dissertation Title

  • "Wind, Forest, Fire, and Mountain: The Evolution of Environment and Local Society in a Japanese Province, 1450-1650"

Teaching Fields

  • Japan
  • East Asia
  • World
  • Environmental History

Courses Taught

  • History 187S: The Samurai
    A detailed examination of Japan's profressional military class, with emphasis upon their economic and social evolution from roughly 500 to 1850.

Teaching Assistantships

  • History 80: East Asian Civilization
    A survey of the major historical developments in East Asia from the earliest times to the present.
  • History 87: Japanese History through Art and Literature
    A survey of Japanese history from prehistory to recent times with an emphasis upon artifacts and writing.
  • History 2A: World History to 1000
    First section of world history which focuses upon origins and travel.
  • History 2B: World History 1000-1800
    The middle section of world history focusing primarily upon economic and technological contacts.
  • History 2C: World History 1800 to the Present
    The final chapter of world history, with emphasis upon migration and interconnectedness.


  • Fulbright IIE Graduate Research Fellowship, 2014-2015
  • UCSB History Associates Graduate Student Summer Fellowship, 2013
  • UCSB History Associates Williams Award, summer 2013
  • Japan Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship, spring 2012, 2013
  • UC Regents Special Fellowship, 2010-2015

Conference Papers

  • “Storming Into Exile: Disaster Response and Political Instability in Warring States Japan”
    Forthcoming at the Association of East Asian Environmental History annual conference; Kagawa, Japan, October 2015
  • "A Farewell to Armies: Creating Stable Patterns of Resource Access in Early Modern Japan, 1500-1700"
    Presented at San Francisco State University History Students Association Conference "Violence, Coercion, Terror, and the State," April 2014.
  • “Christians, Class, and the Closed Country: Japan’s anti-Christian Policies, Public Reactions, and Political Effects, 1543-1640.”
    Presented at the Western Association of Asian Studies regional conference in Ogen, Utah, October, 2006.

MA Thesis

  • "The Last Man Standing: Examining Daimyo Survival in Sixteenth Century Japan.”