Sharon (Hamilton) Nolte ’70

30 August 1988

Class: 1970

Major: Asian Studies

Deceased: July 11, 1987

Sharon H. Nolte, Assistant Professor History at DePauw Univ., died July 11, 1987 of an aneurism in her brain.  She was thirty-eight. 

Nolte received her B.A from Carleton College in 1970.  She was one of the very few women to complete an entire graduate career at Yale, receiving her M. A. in 1972 and her Ph.D. in 1979.  Her dissertation on liberalism in Japan focused on the work of Tanaka Õdõ.  Before finishing her degree, financial exigencies forced her to begin teaching. She taught at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC (1978-79), the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse (19790, and the University of Iowa (spring of 1980).  She taught for four years at Southern Methodist University before moving to DePauw in 1984.  At DePauw she was instrumental in building a program in East Asian Studies. 

Nolte began her career as an intellectual historian.  Her book, Liberalism in Modern Japan:  Ishibashi Tanzan and His Teachers, 1905-1960 University of California Press, 1987) was preceded by articles on individualism in modern Japan, Tanaka Õdõ and John Dewey and Õnishi Hajime.  Gradually, her interests shifted to women’s history.  Her publications in this field include an article on women, the state, and repression in imperial Japan and one on the 1931 suffrage bill.  At her death, Nolte was working on a book on women and the state in prewar Japan. 

A thoroughly professional scholar, Nolte possessed a wry sense of humor, wide-ranging knowledge of Japanese and Western history, a sharp critical eye, and keen editorial judgment.  Both her teaching and her publications served to clarify ways in which East Asian history is a part of our common cultural heritage. 

DePauw University has established a scholarship fund in her honor.

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