The East Asian Studies Center at the University of Southern California leads and supports education, research, and community research concerning East Asia.

Oct 29 2012


Scott Wilbur is a second-year graduate student earning his Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations. He received the Association for Japan-U.S. Community Exchange (ACE) - Nikaido Fellowship for summer 2012.

What are your academic and research interests, and why?

Broadly speaking, I am interested in studying the domestic determinants of foreign economic policy, and the effects of international trade and finance on domestic markets, in the Asia-Pacific region.

What is your Chinese and Japanese language background and future language goals?

I studied Japanese as an undergraduate at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and later completed a master’s degree in political science at National Taiwan University using Mandarin Chinese. I hope to maintain my ability in both languages so that I can continue to conduct research interviews and read firsthand sources, and keep the friendships that I have made throughout the countries I have traveled to.

Why did you choose to come to USC for graduate school?

I came to USC to study under Professor Saori Katada, who specializes in Japanese political economy.

How was the ACE-Nikaido fellowship helpful for your research?

Thanks to the ACE-Nikaido award, I was able to spend five weeks in Tokyo in May and June 2012 deepening my understanding of the domestic politics of Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, and building my network of scholarly, government, and political contacts in Japan. The insights on gained through these activities significantly advanced my understanding of the domestic complexities affecting Japan’s entrance into the TPP.

What are your future career/academic goals?

I would like to be a professor at a research university in the United States.

What EASC events have your enjoyed, and what do you think is the best part of the EASC community?

So far in the fall 2012 semester, I have enjoyed the EASC graduate student mixer, and am looking forward to participating in the Korean Studies Institute’s graduate student symposium “History and International Relations in East Asia” which is co-sponsored by EASC. The EASC community has strong faculty and students working on East Asia, and their collaboration has resulted in many interesting research projects and events related to the region on campus.