David Spafford

Dr. David Spafford
Assistant Professor,
Pre-Modern Japanese
Contact Information
Office Address: 
855 Williams Hall
Office Hours: 
Mondays and Wednesdays by appointment only. Please email for an appointment.
Email Address: 



PhD, History, University of California, Berkeley, 2006.

Recent Courses: 

EALC 002: Introduction to Japanese Civilization

EALC 176: The Age of the Samurai

EALC 073: Freshman Seminar: Culture and Coflict: Japan's Long Sixteenth Century

EALC 270: Shamans to Samurai: The Texts that Made Early Japanese History

EALC 276: Warriors, Peasants, and Monks in Medieval Japan

EALC 301: Major Seminar: Information and Nation in Japan

EALC 751: Early Modern Japanese History: Travel Print Nation

JPAN 401: Readings in Classical Japanese Literature I


Selected Publications: 

A Sense of Place: The Political Landscape in Late Medieval Japan. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2013.

“Warriors Are Tools: Commentary on ‘Epic Hero as Cyborg.’” Fragments: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Medieval and Ancient Pasts 2 (2012): 26-34. URL: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/f/frag

“Uesugi Kenshin.” Entry in The Encyclopedia of War, ed. Gordon Martel, vol. 5, 2263-64. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2012. (peer-reviewed.)

“Takeda Shingen.” Entry in The Encyclopedia of War, ed. Gordon Martel, vol. 4, 2128-30. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2012. (peer-reviewed.)

Review of The Culture of Disputes in Early Modern Japan, 1550-1700, by David Anthony Eason (PhD diss.). For Dissertation Reviews, October 4, 2011. URL: http://dissertationreviews.wordpress.com

“An Apology of Betrayal: Political and Narrative Strategies in a Late Medieval Memoir.” Journal of Japanese Studies 35, no. 2 (Summer 2009): 321-52.


In Preparation:

“Warrior Aristocracy.” Essay for the catalog for the exhibit “Severity and Elegance: Art and Beauty in the Age of the Samurai,” curated at the Detroit Institute of Art. In preparation

“What’s in a Name? The Boundaries and Preservation of Warrior Families in Late Medieval Japan.” In preparation.

“Handed Down in the Family: The Past and Its Uses in Edo-Period Genealogies.” In The Early Modern “Medieval”: Reconstructing Japanese Pasts. In preparation.