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Contact Info
Olin Center 328
Medford, MA 02155
Phone: 617-627-2199

Susan Napier
Goldthwaite Professor of Rhetoric

A.B., Harvard University; Major, East Asian Studies (1977)
A.M, Harvard University; East Asian Languages and Civilizations (1980)
PhD., Harvard University, East Asian Languages and Civilizations (1984)

Research Interests

  • History and theory of animation
  • Japanese animation (anime) and comics (manga)
  • Modern Japanese literature
  • Popular culture, especially science fiction and fantasy
  • Contemporary constructions of gender and the body
  • Technology and culture
  • Fan culture
  • Representations of trauma and loss

Major Publications


  • Miyazakiworld. Yale University Press, 2018.  Paperback Edition, 2019 (To be translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, French and Italian 2019-2020)
  • From Impressionism to Anime: Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Western Imagination. New York: Palgrave, December, 2007.
  • Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Japanese Animation,  New York: St. Martins Press,  2001. (revised edition, Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle 2005). Japanese edition from Chuo Koronsha, 2003, (げんだい日本のアニメ)Korean edition, 2004.
  • The Subversion of Modernity: The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature, London: Routledge, 1996.
  • Escape from the Wasteland: Romanticism and Realism in the Works of Mishima Yukio and Oe Kenzaburo, Cambridge: Harvard University East Asia Series, 1991.

Recent Articles

  • "An Anorexic in Miyazaki’s Land of Cockaigne: Excess and Abnegation in Spirited Away.” In Consuming Japan, ed. Nancy Stalker. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  2018.
  • "Animating Japan: The Fantasy Films of Studio Ghibli,” in "Fantasy/ Animation:  Connections Between Media, Modes and Genre, eds. Holliday and Sargent, London: Routledge, 2018.
  • "Where Shall We Adventure? Robert Louis Stevenson Meets ayao Miyazaki.” In Roger Louis, ed. Effervescent Britania. London: I.B. Tauris, 2018.
  • "Mishima and Miyazaki: The Sea of Fertility Meets the Sea of Corruption.” (in Japanese)
  • Proceedings from the Tokyo University Symposium on Yukio Mishima, Summer, 2016.
  • "Not Always Happily Ever After: Japanese Fairy Tales in Cinema and Animation.” In Fairy Tale Films Beyond Disney, ed. Jack Zipes, London: Routledge, 2015.

Tedx Talks


  • Professor Napier named "Woman of the Week" by The M Dash, the digital magazine of fashion startup MM.LaFleur. Read more.