Laurence Williams (ローレンス・ウィリアムズ) 准教授

学歴 Academic background

I joined Sophia University, Department of English Studies in April 2018, after previously working as a lecturer at the University of Tokyo. I received a PhD in English from Magdalen College, Oxford University (2010), and I have previously held research positions at McGill University, Canada (Canadian Commonwealth fellowship) and the University of Tokyo (JSPS postdoctoral fellowship). My teaching qualifications include associate fellowship of the UK Higher Education Academy.

I am founding editor of the “Tokyo Humanities” project (, which runs a series of activities (including a regular café in Shimokitazawa) aiming to bring humanities research in Tokyo to a broader audience. I also previously worked in Japan on the JET Program (2002–5), in Tottori Prefecture.

専門分野 Academic interests

My research focuses on British ideas of Asia during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with particular focus on representations of the “East” in travel writing, material culture, and fiction.

My recent publications include an edited collection (with Alex Watson) titled British Romanticism in Asia: The Reception, Translation, and Transformation of British Literature in India and East Asia (Palgrave, 2019). I have also edited a special issue of Studies in Travel Writing (with Steve Clark, 21.1: 2017), focusing on the Victorian traveller Isabella Bird, who published one of the first British travel accounts of northern Japan and Hokkaidō in 1880. I am one of the series editors of the Palgrave “Asia-Pacific and Literature in English” series.

Currently, I am editing another volume of essays on British travel writing and the Pacific, titled Pacific Gateways, and writing a monograph on British ideas of Japan during the Enlightenment period.

担当科目 Courses provided at Department of English Studies

British History in a Global Context

My “British History and Culture in a Global Context” lecture course explores the ways in which British culture since 1700 has been influenced by interactions with the rest of the world (recent courses have included early science fiction, London as a global city, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) in philosophical context).

English Skills and Cultures of the English Speaking World

My core courses (Skills and Culture) use broad historical, sociological, and philosophical topics to introduce students to academic writing and debate: recent themes include “Cultural Difference and National Identity”, “Gender and Diversity”, “Historical Memory and Commemoration”, and “The Mega-City”.

Seminar: Studies in British History and Culture

My seminar class allows 3rd- and 4th-year students to undertake individual research projects, leading to graduation theses, on a wide range of topics relating to British history, culture, literature, and politics.

Discussion and Debate

This year, I will also run discussion and debate classes on culture in the internet age (Spring) and current issues in British and American politics (Autumn).

主な著書、その他 Publications, Others

For details of my courses and online resources for students, please see my website:

For a complete list of my publications, please see

i) Edited Collections

(2019) (co-edited with Alex Watson) British Romanticism in Asia: The Reception, Translation, and Transformation of Romantic Literature in India and East Asia (Palgrave Macmillan)

(2017) Isabella Bird, Victorian Women’s Travel Writing, and Japan , special issue of Studies in Travel Writing 21.1 (co-edited with Steve Clark) 

ii) Articles:

(2020) “Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Tour Thro’ The Whole Island of Great Britain”, in Handbook of British Travel Writing, ed. Barbara Schaff (De Gruyter, 2020), 161–180

(2020) “Western Representations of Mount Fuji in the Nineteenth Century”, in Bungakuteki Fuji-san Gaido [Literary Guide to Mount Fuji], ed. Megumi Kato et al., Showado Press.

(2019) “The Manchu Invasion of Britain: Nomadic Resonances in Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Chinoiserie Aesthetics, and Material Culture”, in Eastern Resonances in Early Modern England: Receptions and Transformations from the Renaissance to the Romantic Period, edited by Claire Gallien and Ladan Niayesh (Palgrave), pp.115-35.

(2019) “British Romanticism in Asia, 1820–1950: Modernity, Tradition, and Transformation in India and East Asia” (with Alex Watson), in British Romanticism in Asia (Palgrave, 2019), 1–39

(2017) “’Like the Ladies of Europe’? Female Emancipation and the ‘Scale of Civilization’ in Women’s Writing on Japan, 1840–80”, Studies in Travel Writing 21.1, 17–32

(2017) “Isabella Bird, Victorian Globalism, and Unbeaten Tracks in Japan (1880)” (with Steve Clark), Studies in Travel Writing 21.1: 1–16 

(2016) “Jonathan Swift and Kaempfer’s History of Japan : The Origins of the Court and Empire of Japan (1727/8)”, Notes and Queries 63.1: 79–82

(2015) “Anglo-Chinese Caresses: Civility, Friendship, and Trade in English Representations of China, 1760–1800”, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 38.2: 277–96

(2015) “Revising the Contact Zone: William Adams, Reception History, and the Opening of Japan, 1600–1860”, New Directions in Travel Writing Studies (Palgrave), ed. Julia Kuehn and Paul Smethurst, 297–312

(2015) “The Oriental Tale”, The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of British Literature: 1660–1789 , ed. Gary Day and Jack Lynch, 860–2.

(2015) “Navigating the Paths of Eastern Romance: The Arabian Nights in Eighteenth-Century English Accounts of Istanbul”, Eighteenth-Century Cultural Intermediaries (Honoré Champion), ed. Vanessa Alayrac-Fielding et al., 283–300

(2014) “The Edo Period in English Literature? Japanese Isolationism in the Work of John Locke and Jonathan Swift”, Tohoku Romantic Studies 1, 1–18

(2013) “British Government under the Qianlong Emperor’s Gaze: Satire, Imperialism, and the Macartney Embassy to China, 1792–1804”, Lumen: Journal of the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies , 85–107 

(2012) “Plagiarism and the Macartney Embassy to China (1792–1794): The Manuscript of Stephen Else”, Notes and Queries 59.3: 342–5

 iii) Reviews:

(2015) Review of Peter Kitson’s Forging Romantic China, Studies of Romanticism 40: 191–5

(2009) “Reframing the Oriental Tale”, Cambridge Quarterly 38.2: 183–7

(2008) Review of Robert Markley’s The Far East and the English Imagination, 1600–1730 , Notes and Queries 55.1: 104–6

 iv) Recent conferences organized:

(10/2018) (with Kimiyo Ogawa), “Humanity and the Post-Human in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein : A 200th Anniversary Symposium”, Sophia University European Institute

(11/2017) “Pacific Gateways: The Rise of Transpacific Literature in English, 1760–1900”, Ito International Research Center, University of Tokyo

(10/2016) (with Masahiko Abe), “The Challenge of Japan” international symposium, Ito International Conference Centre, University of Tokyo 

(6/2015) (with Steve Clark), “Isabella Bird and the Poetics of Female Travel Writing”, Faculty of Letters, University of Tokyo

v) Recent presentations:

(6/2019) Organizer and panelist, “A Problematic Period? Teaching the Long Eighteenth Century”, Liberlit Conference (Seikei University, Tokyo)

(2/2019) “Working in a Multi-Polar, Diversified Society” (roundtable), Tokyo International Exchange Center Career Forum for international students, Tokyo

(10/2018) Introductory lecture on “ Frankenstein at 200” and final roundtable, Sophia International Symposium on “Humanity and the Post-Human in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein : A 200 th Anniversary Symposium (1818–2018)”, Sophia University

(04/2018) “The“ Sacred Mountain ”: Visual and Religious Sublimity in Western Representations of Mount Fuji, 1880 – 1900”, ACLA annual conference, UCLA

(11/2017) “An Aesthetic Gateway to Japan: Mount Fuji in Victorian Travel Accounts, 1880–1900”, “Pacific Gateways” symposium, University of Tokyo

(10/2017) “Swift and the Anti-Cosmopolitan Vision: Rethinking the Japan Episode in Gulliver’s Travels ”, Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (CSECS) Annual Conference, Toronto

(02/2017) Speaker in panel session on “Demystifying the Discipline of Literary Studies”, Liberlit Conference, Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, Japan

(11/2016) “The Japanese have grown weary of standing apart”: JG Zimmermann, Romantic Solitude, and the “Opening” of Japan, 1790–1860, at “Romantic Legacies” conference, National Chengchi University, Taipei 

(09/2016) “Gulliver and the Wall of Japan: Fumi-e in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels ”, in “The Challenge of Japan” international symposium, Ito International Conference Center, University of Tokyo

(03/2016) “Beyond Gulliver: Japan in English Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century”, keynote lecture, University of Tokyo English Society Annual Conference

(02/2016) Speaker in panel session on postgraduate career development, 7th annual Liberlit conference, Tokyo Woman’s University

(06/2015) “Like the Ladies of Europe: Victorian Women Writers on the Lives of Japanese Women, 1840–80”, symposium on “Isabella Bird and the Poetics of Female Travel Writing”, University of Tokyo Faculty of Letters

(05/2015) “Chained Islands: Japan in English Political Thought of the Restoration and Early Eighteenth Century”, invited speaker at symposium on “Japan in the Eyes of Others: Visions of Japanese Culture and Society Abroad”, Seikei University, Tokyo

vi) Other academic activities

Founding Editor, Tokyo Humanities Project (