Sarah Kovner is a Senior Research Scholar at the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. She has been a Fellow in International Security Studies at Yale University and a tenured Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida. 

Kovner’s first book, Occupying Power: Sex Workers and Servicemen in Postwar Japan, was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title, and won the best book prize of the Southeast Conference Association for Asian Studies. Her new book, Prisoners of the Empire: POWs and Their Captors in the Pacific, will be published by Harvard University Press in 2020. Her work has been published in the Journal of Asian Studies, the Journal of Women’s History, and Diplomatic History. Her work has also been translated into Japanese and Chinese. 

Kovner received her A.B. from Princeton University and her Ph.D. from Columbia, and also studied at Kyoto University and the University of Tokyo. She is an active member of the Association of Asian Studies, the American Historical Association, and the Society for Historians of Foreign Relations.


Sarah Kovner, Prisoners of the Empire: POWs and their Captors in the Pacific War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020).
Sarah Kovner, Occupying Power: Sex Workers and Servicemen in Postwar Japan (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012).
Sarah Kovner, Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese POW Camps (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020).

Principal Articles

Sarah Kovner, “The Soundproofed Superpower: U.S. Bases and Japanese Communities, 1945-1972,” Journal of Asian Studies 75, no. 1 (2016): 87.
Sarah Kovner, “GIs in the Global History of Gender and Sexuality,” Journal of Women’s History 21, no. 3 (2014): 147.
Sarah Kovner, review of Troubled Apologies Among Japan, Korea, and the United States, by Alexis Dudden, Journal of World History 21, no. 2 (2010): 362.
Sarah Kovner, “Selling Sex under Occupation: The American-Japanese Encounter after 1945,” Journal of Asian Studies 68, no. 3 (2009): 777.
Yamashits Yeong-ae, “Nationalism in Korean Women’s Studies: Addressing the Discourses Surrounding the ‘Comfort Women Issue’,” trans. Sarah Kovner, U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal, English Supplement 15 (1998): 52.
Kim Yonghi, “Is Forgetting a Kindness?” trans. Sarah Kovner, U.S.- Japan Women’s Journal, English Supplement 14 (1998): 49.
“A War of Words: Allied Captivity and Swiss Neutrality in the Pacific, 1941-1945,” Diplomatic History 41, no. 1 (2017): 719.

Book Chapters

Sarah Kovner, “Allied POWs in Colonial Korea” in Specter of Empire: The Fall of Imperial Japan and the Postwar Struggle for Legitimacy, ed. Barak  Kushner (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2016).
Sarah Kovner, “1946 nen -1956 nen no Nihon ni okeru baishun no haishi ni tsuite,” (“Abolishing Prostitution in Japan, 1946-1956”) in Shin Nichiha ga egaita Nihonzō (Perspectives on Japan from a New Generation of American Specialists), ed. Terry McDougall (Kyoto: Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies, 2000).

Other Articles, Testimoney and Reports

J. E. Hoare, Review of Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese POW Camps, by Sarah Kovner, Asian Affairs, 26 April 2021.
Derek R. Mallett, Review of Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese POW Camps, by Sarah Kovner, Journal of Military History 85 no. 2 (2021): 539.
Nathan Hopson, “Sarah Kovner, ‘Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese POW Camps,'” New Books in East Asian Studies, 24 March 2021.
Sarah Kovner, “Prisoners of the Empire,” We Have Ways of Making You Talk, 20 January 2021.
Sarah Kovner, “The French history behind Lebanon’s problems; challenging the prisoners of war narrative; remembering Brent Scowcroft,” Between The Lines from ABC Radio National, 20 August 2020.
Review of Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese POW Camps, by Sarah Kovner. Publishers Weekly, 2 July 2020.
Andrew Nathan, Review of Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese POW Camps, by Sarah Kovner,  Foreign Affairs, January/February 2021.