Susan Westhafer Furukawa
Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures (Japanese)
Office: Room 106, World Affairs Center
Department Chair for Modern Languages and Literatures
My research focuses on historical narratives and popular culture in Japan, and I am especially interested in how samurai have been reimagined in the 20th and 21st centuries. My first book The Afterlife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi: Historical Fiction and Popular Culture in Japan was published in 2022, and I am now working on a second book about women writers of historical fiction in Japan. I am also an active translator.
I teach in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, but my courses are often cross-listed with Critical Identity Studies, Media Studies, and Environmental Studies. In my classes, we look at how the narratives people create are subject to cultural, historical, and sociopolitical influences and examine the ways in which language and stories are often used to curate our understanding of the environment and the world. I also advise students applying to the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (JET).
What I love about teaching at Beloit is that faculty are free to create innovative courses that help students develop incredible skills they can carry with them well beyond their time here. Beloit students are interested and interesting learners in every sense of the word, so they bring a lot to the classroom.
When I am not working, I love writing, listening to music, watching and playing sports, hiking, and camping.