Dr. J. Elijah Bender

Associate Professor, History History, Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Global Studies

I am an environmental historian specializing in premodern Japan. I’m very interested in the causes of conflict and cohesion in society, and I primarily examine that topic through environmental disputes. Doing so brings a lot of interconnected historical forces together, and offers a lot of potential avenues for research. I’m currently working on a book that argues for the key influence of local conflict resolution mechanisms in shaping a widespread transition across the Japanese archipelago.

I enjoy teaching immensely and find it to be one of the most rewarding things about my profession. There are so many interesting things about history that I love exploring with students. As fascinating as this historical content is, an even more important thing I want to impart to students is the value of thinking. History is a critical tool for understanding our world, and in order to explore history, you have to know how to dig up obscure information, process it with a critical eye, and be self-reflective about your own conclusions. I love working through these complex cognitive tasks with students and cherish those “a-ha!” moments when their perception of the world grows richer.


Dr. J. Elijah Bender

Associate Professor, History Old Main – 327