Susan J. Pharr is the Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics in the Department of Government, Harvard University. At Harvard she is director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Much of her research has explored the social basis for democracy in Japan and East Asia, and the origins and development of civil society and its role in social and political change worldwide, particularly in Asia. Her research interests include comparative political behavior; Japanese politics; Japanese foreign policy and the international relations of East Asia; domestic and international NGOs in politics; comparative politics of industrialized nations; democratization and social change in Japan and Asia; political ethics and corruption; environmental politics; the role of the media in politics; women and politics; the role of Japan and the United States in development, and the international political economy of development. Her current research focuses on the forces shaping civil societies, and the changing nature of relations between citizens and states in Asia.