Research Interests: History of East Asia; Early Modern History; History of Japan; History of Christianity; History of Baseball
Michael Laver’s research interests are diverse and wide-ranging, although to date he has published mainly in the field of early modern Japan. His first book, Japan’s Economy by Proxy, details Japanese trade with the wider early modern world as facilitated mainly by Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese merchants. His second book, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, argues that the several strictures the Tokugawa shogun put on trade with Japan, as well as on foreign influences in Japan, was primarily an attempt to bolster domestic power within the Japanese islands. Professor Laver teaches courses on modern and premodern Japan and China, modern East Asia, global Christianity, and baseball.
Professor Laver serves as the chair of the Department of History. In addition, he is a faculty associate of the International and Global Studies Program, having served previously as the program director of that program. He has also served in a number of other capacities at RIT, including as Chair of Academic Senate and as co-chair of the Middle States Reaccreditation Process.
Professor Laver earned his B.A. in History and Psychology at Purdue University and Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the faculty at RIT in 2008, Laver was assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 2006-2008.
Laver, Michael, Japan’s Economy by Proxy in the Seventeenth Century: China, The Netherlands, and the Bakufu (New York: Cambria Press, 2008).
Laver, Michael, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony (New York: Cambria Press, 2011).
Laver, Michael, The Shogun’s Menagerie: Diplomacy and Exotic Gift Giving in Early Modern Japan (in progress, projected fall 2017).
"Butter Diplomacy: Food and Drink as a Social Lubricant in Dutch East India Company Trade with Japan," Education about Asia (Spring, 2012).
"Most Exquisite Curiosities of Nature and Art: The Dutch East India Company, Objets d’Art and Gift Giving in Early Modern Japan," World History Connected 10:2 (June 2013).
"Skins in the Game: The Dutch East India Company, Deerskins, and the Japan Trade." World History Bulletin 28:2 (Fall 2012).
"Japan and the Sixteenth Century World," in Japan Emerges: Introductory Essays on Premodern History edited by Karl Friday (Boulder: Westview Press, 2012).
"Medieval Japan and the Asian Continent," in Japan Emerges: Introductory Essays on Premodern History edited by Karl Friday (Boulder: Westview Press, 2012).
"The Trade Federation, the East India Companies, and Chaotic Worlds of Trade," in Star Wars and History edited by Nancy Reagin and Janice Liedl (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Novemberber 2012, forthcoming).
"The Maritime Silk Road: Silver and Silk in Japan's Trade with Asia in the 16th and 17th Centuries" in The Silk Road: Interwoven History Vol. 1 Long-distance Trade, Culture, and the People (Cambridge, MA: Association of Central Asian Civilizations and Silk Road Studies, 2014).
"Neither Here nor There: Trade, Piracy, and the 'Space Between' in Early Modern East Asia" in Tonio Andrade and Xing Hang (eds) Sea Rovers, Silk, and Samurai: Maritime East Asia in World History 1500-1750 (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, forthcoming).
"Worlds Entangled" in Milestone Documents World History Volume 2: 1500-Present (Dallas, Schlager Group, 2014).
"Empires of Splendor and Might," in Milestone Documents World History Volume 2: 1500-Present (Dallas, Schlager Group, 2014).
"Non-European Appropriations of Modernity." In Milestone Documents World History Volume 2: 1500-Present (Dallas, Schlager Group, 2014).