Scott Harrison

PhD History

Scott Harrison“This is one of the largest history programs in Canada.” Scott Harrison, PhD candidate in History goes on to explain that the Tri-University Graduate Program in History program, which is comprised of UWaterloo, University of Guelph and Wilfred Laurier University, provide students with unique opportunities and facilities. “Not only do you have access to the faculty and staff at each university, but you also have access to the digital and campus libraries. As a history student, constantly needing access to written materials, this certainly adds to the program.”

Scott began his post-secondary studies at the University of Calgary in the East Asian Studies program. Two years into his undergrad, he made the decision to move to Japan. “My first goal was to learn Japanese. To do that, I needed to be in Japan and I needed to work in Japan.” He quickly decided that his best chance at learning the language was to enroll in a Japanese university. “I ended up in Northern Japan in Sapporo in a full immersion Japanese program.” During his two years there, Scott focused on Japanese internationalization and the relationship and cultural overlap between Japan and the West.

It was there that his PhD research area would take form. Scott took a class about Ainu culture and history. The Ainu are an indigenous people of Japan, and the course was taught by members of the community. Scott’s current focus is global Cold War and global indigenous peoples’ history. Specifically, he is examining the influence of the Cold War on indigenous people around the world. What started out as an examination of the Ainu involvement in a territorial dispute between Japan and Russia over four islands in Northeast Asia – his MA focus – evolved when he began to find similarities in other indigenous people around the world during the same time period. “It’s a unique lens through which to look at the Ainu and other indigenous peoples’ history.”

“My supervisor is Dr. Kimie Hara at Renison University College within UWaterloo. She is the main reason I chose to come to Waterloo,” Scott explains. Dr. Hara is the Director of East Asian Studies and was Scott’s supervisor for both his MA and his current PhD. “Having a supportive supervisor that shares similar interests is really important. Finding a professor that you get along with and respect, both personally and professionally, is what will get you through graduate school.”

July 2013 Megan Scarborough

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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