Current Institutional Affiliation
John E. Andrus Professor /Chair, Government/ East Asian Studies, Wesleyan University

Professor Mary Alice Haddad’s current work concerns urban diplomacy and environmental politics with a focus on East Asia, especially China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Her earlier research focused on civic engagement, democracy, citizenship, volunteering, and nonprofit organizations.  She is the John E. Andrus Professor of Government, Director of the Office of the Faculty Career Development, and Professor of East Asian and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University.
A Fulbright and Harvard Academy scholar, Haddad is author of three books: Effective Advocacy: Lessons from East Asia’s Environmentalists (MIT press, 2021),  Building Democracy in Japan (Cambridge, 2012) and Politics and Volunteering in Japan (Cambridge, 2007), and co-editor of two more: Greening East Asia: The Rise of the Eco-Developmental State (University of Washington, 2021; co-edited with Ashley Esarey, Stevan Harrell, and Joanna Lewis) and NIMBY is Beautiful (Berghahn Books, 2015; co-edited with Carol Hager).  She has published in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Democratization, Journal of Asian Studies, and Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.  For links to many of her publications, please visit her ResearchGate or WesScholar sites.
She has published op ed pieces on Japan’s post-Fukushima disaster relief and planning in the Asahi Shimbun, the Hartford Courant (and another after Hurricane Irma), and the South China Morning Post.  She has also contributed to 99% Invisible, and co-authored an article with Joan Cho and Alexis Dudden about Korean peace talks in The Conversation.
Her most recent pieces talk about how pro-environmental mayors are winning elections, how cities and China offer solutions for climate change, how to make sense of Hong Kong’s AirPollution, and what Green New Deal advocates can learn from East Asia. She has written about potential for compromise solutions in Hong Kong’s 2019 protests and cautions against negative reactions to the coronavirus outbreak.
She has received numerous grants and fellowships from organizations such as the Institute of International Education (Fulbright), the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, the Japan Foundation, Korea Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon Foundation, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, and the East Asian Institute.  She co-editor of Cambridge University Press’s Elements in Politics and Society in East Asia series, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Society of Japanese Studies.

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Assistant Professor, Government, Wesleyan University
Environmental Politics and Civic Participation in East Asia

How do citizens create political openings to engage their governments? How do governments learn to benefit from active engagement with citizens? How do transnational actors influence these relationships? These are important questions for students of political science, and the Japanese experience can offer important answers that are applicable to other parts of the world. Expanded citizen participation, the proliferation of nongovernmental organizations, and greater governmental openness around environmental issues suggest that governments in East Asia, even those that are not fully democratic, have found it useful to allow, even encourage, citizens to organize themselves around environmental issues and to participate actively in policymaking. Furthermore, participation in this process has helped both sides—citizens and their governments—learn how to work together to solve important public issues. In many cases, these governments have also engaged transnational actors in helpful and supportive ways that has led to further citizen-state cooperation in governance. For this project, I intend to use the Japanese experience of environmental activism to build a broader theory of civic participation. This project is focused on the politics of state-society interaction around environmental issues; it is not concerned with evaluating the quality or the effectiveness of the policies themselves. In my previous research on civic participation in Japan, I was struck that the issue area of the environment was one of the first places where citizens were able to organize effectively at the grassroots level and change government policy. Although considerable research has been conducted about the nature of the protests during the 1960s and 1970s as well as on contemporary NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) environmental protests, there are no good explanations of the process through which these community-based, local NIMBY protests may have helped Japan to become a global environmental leader. The project will use the Japanese case to develop the theory, and then the theory will be tested and refined through the examination of environmental politics and civic participation in five additional polities: China, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and Singapore. This research should be of great interest to a wide variety of scholars, policy makers, and activists. Empirically, the research will contribute to our understanding of the mechanics of environmental activism in Japan and East Asia, explaining the process through which local conflicts can be transformed into national and even international policy. Theoretically, the project will contribute to our understanding of the relationship between civic participation and democracy, since it focuses on the ways that citizens can create and expand political space. Normatively, the project will promote the use of non-Western cases for generating theories in political science.