After studying Japanese as an undergraduate at Wake Forest University (BA in History 1994), Noell Wilson spent a year as a JET teacher in Hokkaido, Japan before returning to complete an AM in Regional Studies East Asia (1997) and then a Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages (2004), both at Harvard University. Her first book, Defensive Positions: The Politics of Maritime Security in Tokugawa Japan (Harvard University Asia Center, 2015) examined the influence of coastal defense on early modern state formation. Current research explores the role of US whalers in integrating mid-nineteenth century Japan and Korea into an emergent North Pacific commercial and cultural web. She teaches Japanese history in the Department of History and East Asian studies at the Croft Institute. Together with Professor Howard, Wilson also offers NCTA (National Consortium for Teaching about Asia) workshops for secondary school teachers, which are organized by the Croft Institute.
Dr. Wilson is studying at Hokkaido University in Japan during the 2017-2018 academic year on a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award. She is working on a book about American whalers in the North Pacific in the 19th century.