Wesleyan portrait of Scott W. Aalgaard

Scott W. Aalgaard

Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies

Fisk Hall, 309


BA University of Victoria
MA University of Victoria
MA University of Chicago
PHD University of Chicago

Scott W. Aalgaard

Scott W. Aalgaard works on cultural production in modern and contemporary Japan, with particular emphases on popular music and literature. His work addresses geopolitics, political economy, regional and social histories, nationalism, fascism, and disparate modes of protest and critique, among other topics. His first book, titled Homesick Blues: Politics, Protest, and Musical Storytelling in Modern Japan (University of Hawai'i Press, 2023), explores the interplay between music and everyday life, and how music is used by artists, fans, and others to imagine and re-imagine social, political, and cultural life in modern Japan. It is oriented toward understanding the ways in which artists, authors, and individual social actors use music to understand the world, and to envision different possibilities for living in it.

Aalgaard's research also explores the manifestation and utility of sound in literature, and engages with the histories of the Japanese Empire (1869-1945) and its narrative intersections with fleshly bodies. He is interested in the possibilities and pitfalls of storytelling, and how the strategic, tactical conjuring and telling of stories (in various forms, and in different ways) can both serve different modes of power and discourse--and promise to upend them.

Prof. Aalgaard has spent nearly four-fifths of his life coming and going between Canada, Japan, and now the United States. Before commencing doctoral studies, Aalgaard worked in agriculture, the non-profit sector, local and federal government, and even the popular music industry. These diverse experiences gained over many years of living in different places around Japan--from Hokkaido to Fukushima to Tokyo and beyond--have instilled in him a keen interest in the nature and experiences of everyday life, the ways it's navigated, and its challenges confronted and overcome. This attention to what scholars call "everydayness" has become a key factor guiding and shaping Aalgaard's own research interests and academic work, much of which takes place in collaboration with everyday social actors across Japan.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Meeting times in Spring '24 are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, by appointment only. Please navigate to this page to reserve a time that works for you. If you have classes or other commitments during these Office Hours slots, please e-mail me directly to make alternate arrangements. Everyone is welcome, whether you are taking my classes or not.


Fall 2024
CEAS 300 - 01
Storytelling in Japan's Empire

CEAS 395 - 01
A Student's Guide to Fascism