David Leheny is the Henry Wendt III '55 Professor of East Asian Studies. Trained as a political scientist, Leheny taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1998 until 2007. Before that, he served as a research associate (joshu) in the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo. Under the auspices of the International Affairs Fellowship from the Council in Foreign Relations, he served for most of 2000 as Regional Affairs Officer in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State.
Most of Leheny's diverse research projects involve Japan's reaction to and adoption of international norms, or standards of behavior that have prescriptive and constitutive effects on state action. He is the author of two books, both published by Cornell University Press. Think Global, Fear Local: Sex, Violence, and Anxiety, published in 2006, examines how two different norms involving security and policing became useful for political elites interested in expanding the coercive authority of the state. In covering counterterrorism rules and laws regarding "compensated dating" (enjo kôsai), Think Global, Fear Local broadly engages Japanese debates about crime, sexual morality, and regional security. His previous book, The Rules of Play: National Identity and the Shaping of Japanese Leisure, investigated Japanese leisure and tourism policies in the 20th century, demonstrating how they were shaped not only by changing industrial policy formulations but also by long-term constructions of Japan as an advanced industrial nation like any other, and yet as culturally unique. Choice magazine named The Rules of Play one of its "Outstanding Academic Titles" of 2003.
Along with Kay Warren, the Charles B. Tillinghast Jr. '32 Professor of International Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Brown University, Leheny is co-editor of the manuscript Inescapable Solutions: Japanese Aid and the Construction of Global Development. Written and edited with support of the Abe Seminar Program at the Social Science Research Council and the Japan Foundation's Center for Global Partnership, Inescapable Solutions draws on anthropological, sociological, and political theories of development to engage recent debates about Japanese aid policy. With chapters by Japanese aid practitioners and an international collection of scholars, the book argues that Japanese aid practices have increasingly been shaped by global "human security" initiatives, but that the consequences are too complex to be reduced to questions about its effectiveness or ineffectiveness. It also argues that development assistance can have profound implications not only for recipients but for donors as well.
Leheny has received fellowships and awards from the Council on Foreign Relations, the Social Science Research Council, the Japan Foundation's Center for Global Partnership, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, among others. He is also the winner of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007. As of 2007, he will serve on the Japan Advisory Board of the Social Science Research Council.
1. Think Global, Fear Local: Sex, Violence, and Anxiety in Contemporary Japan
2. The Rules of Play: National Identity and the Shaping of Japanese Leisure