Blog Index
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2008-Present   Regents Professor, Board of Regents, Montana University System, MT.

2015-2016       Edwin O. Reischauer Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies, Department of History and Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

2013-2016   Michael P. Malone Memorial Professor of History, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

2011-2012       Research Specialist and Visiting Professor, Program in the History of Science, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN.

2006-2011       Chair, Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

2007                Professor of History, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT,

2004-2007       Associate Professor of History, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

1999-2004       Assistant Professor of History, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

1998-99           Assistant Professor of History, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

1998                Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR.

1998                Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA.

1997                Instructor of History, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. 



1997    Ph.D.  Japanese History, Department of History, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR.

Dissertation: “Matsumae Domain and the Conquest of Ainu Lands: Ecology and Culture in Tokugawa Expansionism, 1593-1799.” (Advisor: Jeffrey E. Hanes)

1995    Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Letters, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.

1993    M.A. East Asian History, Department of History, Portland State University, Portland, OR.

1989    B.A. History, The Albertson College of Idaho, Caldwell, ID.




2018    A Family History of Illness: Memory as Medicine (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018).

2017    História Concisa do Japão (Em Portuguese do Brasil) (Edipro, 2017). (Portuguese version of A Concise History of Japan).

2017    Historia De Japón, translated by Herminia Bevia Villalba (Madrid, España: Ediciones Akal, 2017) (Spanish version of A Concise History of Japan).

2015    A Concise History of Japan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015). Named a 2015 Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Presently, this book is being translated into Portuguese and Chinese.

2013    布雷特 雷 沃克 际环译丛·第2·毒:日本工病史中国境科学出版社(Chinese translation of Toxic Archipelago). 

2010    Toxic Archipelago:  A History of Industrial Disease in Japan, foreword by William Cronon (Seattle & London: University of Washington Press, 2010; paperback reprint, 2011; Kindle, 2012). Winner: George Perkins Marsh Prize for Best Book in Environmental History, American Society for Environmental History.

2010    「絶滅した日本のオオカミーその歴史と生態」。 北海道大学出会。 2010年1月発行。 (Japanese translation of The Lost Wolves of Japan.)

2007    「蝦夷地の征服(1590-1800)―日本の領土拡張にみる生態と文化」。 北海道大学出会。2007年4月発行。(Japanese translation of The Conquest of Ainu Lands.)

2005    The Lost Wolves of Japan, foreword by William Cronon (Seattle & London: University of Washington Press, 2005; paperback reprint, 2007; Kindle, 2009).

2001    The Conquest of Ainu Lands: Ecology and Culture in Japanese Expansion, 1590-1800  (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001; paperback reprint, 2006). 


Edited volumes:

2013    Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas, and Brett L. Walker, ed. Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2013).

2005    Gregory Pflugfelder and Brett L. Walker, ed. JAPANimals: History and Culture in Japan’s Animal Life (Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2005).


Book chapters:

2015    “Mamiya Rinzô and the Cartography of Empire” and “Mapping the Hôjô Colliery Explosion of 1914,” in Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps, eds., Kären Wigen, Sugimoto Fumiko, and Cary Karacas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 140-44 and 163-67.

2014    “Animals and the Intimacy of History,” in The Oxford Handbook of Environmental History, edited by Andrew C. Isenberg (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 52-75. This article also appeared in History and Theory, Theme Issue (December 2013): 1-22.

2013    「偉大なる収斂:日本における自然環境の発見」 (The Great Divergence: Japan and the Discovery of the Natural Environment), Vol. 4, in 「日本の思想」 (Japanese thought), 8 vols. (Tokyo: Iwanami Koza, 2013).

2006    “The Ecology of Ainu Autonomy and Dependence,” in The Indigenous Experience: Global Perspectives, ed. Roger C. A. Maaka and Chris Andersen (Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc., 2006), 45-71.

2005    “Foreign Affairs and Frontiers in Early Modern Japan: A Historiographical Essay,” in Image and Identity: Rethinking Cultural History, ed. Jeffrey E. Hanes and Yamaji Hidetoshi (Kobe: Institute of Economics and Management, Kobe University, 2005).

1999    “Foreign Contagions, Ainu Medical Culture, and Conquest.” In Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People, ed. William W. Fitzhugh and Chisato Dubreuil (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution and University of Washington Press, 1999), 102-7.

1996    Foreword to William Smith Clark: A Yankee in Hokkaido, by John M. Maki. Sapporo: Hokkaido University Press, 1996.


Refereed articles:

2015    “Environments of Terror: 9/11, World Trade Center Dust, and the Global Nature of New York’s Toxic Bodies,” in Chris Otter, Nicholas Breyfogle, John L. Brooke, Mari K. Webel, Matthew Klingle, Andrew Price-Smith, Brett L. Walker, and Linda Nash, “Forum: Technology, Ecology, and Human Health Since 1850,” Environmental History 20 (2015): 710-804.

2013    “Animals and the Intimacy of History,” History and Theory, Theme Issue (December 2013): 1-22. This article also appeared in The Oxford Handbook of Environmental History, edited by Andrew C. Isenberg (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 52-75.

2007    “Mamiya Rinzō and the Japanese Exploration of Sakhalin Island: Cartography, Ethnography, and Empire,” Journal of Historical Geography 33, no. 2 (April 2007): 283-313. This article was also posted with a new introduction on Japan Focus on February 3, 2008 and in The Japanese Empire: Colonial Lives and Postcolonial Struggles, ed. Kristen Ziomek, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Course Reader Number 8, 2013.

2007    “Sanemori’s Revenge: Insects, Eco-System Accidents, and Policy Decisions in Japan’s Environmental History,” Journal of Policy History, Special Issue: New Perspectives on Public Health Policy, James Mohr, Editor 19, no. 1 (2007): 113-44.

2004    “Meiji Modernization, Scientific Agriculture, and the Destruction of Japan’s Hokkaido Wolf,” Environmental History 9, no. 2 (April 2004): 248-74.

2001    “Commercial Growth and Environmental Change in Early Modern Japan: Hachinohe’s Wild Boar Famine of 1749.” Journal of Asian Studies 60, no. 2 (Spring 2001): 329-51.

1999    “The Early Modern Japanese State and Ainu Vaccinations: Redefining the Japanese Body Politic, 1799-1868.”  Past and Present 163 (May 1999): 121-60.

1996    “Reappraising the Sakoku Paradigm: The Ezo Trade and the Extension of Tokugawa Political Space into Hokkaidō.” Journal of Asian History 30, no. 2 (December 1996): 169-92.



2013                Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, “The Slow Dying: Asbestos and the Unmaking of the Modern World.” Total direct cost: $48,000.

2007-10           Principal Investigator for “Technological Symmetry and Hybrid Environments at the Ashio and Anaconda Copper Mines.” NSF Social Studies of Science, Engineering, and Technology Grant for Collaborative Research submitted with Prof. Tim LeCain. Total direct costs: $305,864.

2008                Co-Director, International Studies Title VI Grant, Department of Education. Total direct costs: $179,634.97

2005                Coauthor of Japan Foundation Staff Expansion Grant, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, MSU ($157,000).

2005                 Vice President for Scholarship, Creativity, and Technology Transfer Research Grant, Montana State University ($13,648).

2000-2001       EPSCoR NSF Research Grant, Montana State University.

1999-2001       Author of two successful Japan Foundation Library Supplement Grants, Category A2 and Category B2, for MSU Libraries, Bozeman. I also helped catalog these books (worth about $21,580).