(All posts, except for Incoming President, start on January 1 of the year following their election and serve until December 31 of the final year of the term)
Sonia RYANG (Rice University)
President 2020, 2021, Incoming President 2018, 2019, sonia.ryang[at] rice.edu
Sonia Ryang is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Asian Studies in Rice University. Her research interests are clustered around the issues of ethnological study of cultural logic and fundamental principle of a society, interactions between humans and the environment (including non-human animals and food), scientific knowledge, and social justice. She is particularly interested in anthropological study of North Korea on the one hand and scientific collaboration across national borders traversing Asia and the US on the other.
Ellen OXFELD (Middlebury College)
Incoming President 2020, 2021
Ellen Oxfeld has worked on a variety of topics in Chinese culture and society, including food, morality in reform era rural China, gender and family relations in rural China, as well as family, economy and identity in the Chinese diaspora. She has taught anthropology at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont since 1985.
Her most recent book, Bitter and Sweet: Food, Meaning and Morality in Rural China (University of California Press, 2017) examines the social and cultural role of food in rural China. Based on fieldwork in a Hakka Chinese village in southeast China, it considers a number of issues, including food’s role in labor and exchange, its centrality in historical memory, and its importance in ideas about moral obligation and sociality. Previous books include “Drink Water, but Remember the Source:” Moral Discourse in a Chinese Village (University of California Press, 2010), and Blood, Sweat and Mahjong: Family and Enterprise in an Overseas Chinese Community (Cornell University Press, 1993). She is co-editor, along with Lynellyn Long, of Coming Home? Refugees, Immigrants and Those Who Stayed Behind (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). Currently she is working on a new project exploring meanings of commensality in contemporary China.
Glenda S. ROBERTS (Waseda University Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies)
President 2018, 2019, Incoming President 2016, 2017, Bestor Award Committee Chair 2016-2017 robertsglendas[at]gmail.com
Professor at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies of Waseda University in Tokyo, her main areas of research are gender, family, and work in contemporary Japan, and immigration policy under demographic decline. She has authored Staying on the Line: Blue-Collar Women in Contemporary Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 1994) as well as Japan’s Evolving Family: Voices from Young Urban Adults Navigating Change (East-West Center, 2016), and co-edited several volumes, including, with Mike Douglass, Japan and Global Migration (University of Hawaii Press, 2003), and, with Satsuki Kawano and Susan O. Long, eds., Capturing Contemporary Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2014). Currently she has two research projects ongoing. One is a joint project with Dr. Hiroko Umegaki-Costantini of Sciences-Po and the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing on Work-life balance, care and well-being for families in Paris and Tokyo. The other is a JSPS-funded study on Stakeholders’ attitudes toward social integration and inclusion of newcomer foreign workers in farming areas of Japan. She also continues as a member of the Japanese Ministry of Justice’s 7th Advisory Board on Immigration Control.
Satsuki KAWANO (University of Guelph)
Secretary 2019-20-21 skawano [at]uoguelph.ca
Professor of Anthropology at the University of Guelph (Canada), Satsuki Kawano has conducted fieldwork-based projects in Japan focusing on ritual, personhood, childrearing, and disabilities. Major publications include Ritual Practice in Modern Japan (U. of Hawai’i Press), Nature’s Embrace: Japan’s Aging Urbanites and New Death Rites (U. of Hawai’i Press), and Capturing Contemporary Japan (with Glenda S. Roberts and Susan Orpett Long; U. of Hawai’i Press)xu. Currently she is exploring the politics of support provision for Japanese students with developmental disabilities. The research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada), the Social Science Research Council (US), the Japan Foundation, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Isaac GAGNE (German Institute for Japanese Studies)
Treasurer, 2020-21-22 gagne[at] dijtokyo.org
Isaac Gagné is a Senior Research Fellow at the German Institute for Japanese Studies and Managing Editor of the DIJ’s peer-reviewed journal Contemporary Japan. He received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Yale University and has worked at the Waseda University Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and The University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on four broad fields of inquiry: 1) Gender, sexuality, and popular culture; 2) Religion, morality, and ethics; 3) Mental health, psychotherapy, and well-being; 4) Globalization and migration. His publications include “Dislocation, Social Isolation, and the Politics of Recovery in Post-Disaster Japan” (Transcultural Psychiatry, forthcoming), “Religious Globalization and Reflexive Secularization in a Japanese New Religion” (Japan Review, 2017), and the edited volume Japan through the lens of the Tokyo Olympics (co-edited with Barbara Holthus, Wolfram Manzenreiter, and Franz Waldenberger; Routledge, 2020).
Nicholas HARKNESS (Harvard University)
Councilor 2019-20-21 harkness [at]fas.harvard.edm
Nicholas Harkness is Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. He specializes in the ethnographic study of communication and cultural semiosis. His research in South Korea has resulted in publications on various topics, including language, music, religion, kinship, liquor, and the city of Seoul. His book, Songs of Seoul: An Ethnography of Voice and Voicing in Christian South Korea (University of California Press, 2014), was awarded the Edward Sapir Book Prize by the Society for Linguistic Anthropology (American Anthropological Association). A number of his papers have been devoted to developing an anthropological approach to “qualia.” These papers incorporate the innovations of contemporary semiotics into the ethnographic theorization of sensuous social life. Harkness is currently finishing a book about glossolalia (“speaking in tongues”).
Andrew KIPNIS (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Councilor 2019-20-21 abkipnis [at]cuhk.edu.hk
Andrew Kipnis is professor of anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research has explored a wide range of subjects, including social transformation, urbanization, education, subjectification, kinship, gender, ritual, gift exchange; economic, linguistic, political, social and cultural anthropology. Recent publications include 2017 “Governing the Souls of Chinese Modernity” (article with commentary), 2016 From Village to City: Social Transformation in a Chinese County Seat (University of California Press), and 2011 Governing Educational Desire: Culture, Politics and Schooling in China (University of Chicago Press, winner of the Francis Hsu book award).
Marvin STERLING (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Councilor 2020-21-22 mdsterli[at] indiana.edu
Marvin D. Sterling is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington. His theoretical interests include cultural transnationalism, performance theory, race and global blackness, Afro-Asia, and human rights. His work centers regionally on Japan and Jamaica. He teaches courses on the globalization of African diasporic music, the circulation of racial discourse within and beyond the Western world, world fiction and cultural anthropology, the anthropology of contemporary Japan, and Afro-Caribbean popular culture as protest. He is author of “Babylon East: Performing Dancehall, Roots Reggae, and Rastafari in Japan” (2010, Duke University Press). His current research explores the lives of Japanese citizens of both Japanese and African descent.
Jie YANG (Simon Fraser University)
Councilor 2020-21-22, jie_yang[at] sfu.ca
Jie Yang is professor of anthropology at Simon Fraser University. She was trained in linguistic anthropology. Her current research focuses on critical studies of mental health and psychology in China. She is editor of the Political Economy of Affect and Emotion in East Asia (2014, Routledge) and author of two monographs: Unknotting the Heart: Unemployment and Therapeutic Governance (2015, Cornell University Press; 2016 winner of Francis Hsu Book Prize) and Mental Health in China: Change, Tradition, and Therapeutic Governance (2017, Polity). She is completing a new monograph on the phenomenon of guan xinbing provisionally entitled Officials’ Heart Distress: Bureaucracy, Double Bind, and Psychologization in China.
Jennifer PROUGH (Valparaiso University)
Councilor 2021-22-23 Jennifer.prough [at]valpo.edu
Jennifer Prough is an Associate Professor in Christ College, the interdisciplinary honors college, of Valparaiso University. Her research interests include the anthropology of media, the anthropology of tourism, Japanese studies, gender studies, and globalization. At the heart of Prough’s research and teaching interests are issues of representation and the ways that cultural meanings are produced and managed, experienced and interpreted through mass culture. Her book entitled, Straight from the Heart: Gender, intimacy, and the Cultural Production of Shōjo Manga (University of Hawai’i Press, 2011) examines the production of Girls’ comics in Japan through ethnographic analysis. Her most recent book, Kyoto Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Contemporary Kyoto (forthcoming, University of Hawai’i Press) seeks to understand the ways that tradition, history, and culture are produced, packaged, promoted, and consumed in the Kyoto tourist industry.
Yi WU (Clemson University)
Councilor 2021-2022-2023 ywu5[at] clemson.edu
Yi Wu is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Clemson University. Her research has mainly revolved around the social and cultural transformation of rural communities in China during the People’s Republic period (1949-present). Yi Wu explores these transformations through the lens of property rights, urbanization, agricultural development, and environmental conservation. Her book Negotiating Rural Land Ownership in Southwest China: State, Village, Family (University of Hawaii Press, 2016) explores how the three major rural actors—local governments, village communities, and rural households—have contested and negotiated land rights in agricultural production and in the land market, resulting in a constantly changing hybrid land ownership system. Yi Wu is currently working on an NSF-sponsored project to study the social and cultural mechanisms through which village communities and rural individuals exert control over their collectively-owned land, either successfully or not, in the context of land loss caused by urban development. In addition to the above projects, Yi Wu is also exploring new research areas, such as sustainable rural development and food studies. She is interested in comparative study on how agriculture is planned and operates at the local community level in different social and cultural contexts.
Yifan WANG (Rice University)
Student Councilor 2020, 2021 yifanwang[at]rice.edu
Yifan Wang is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at Rice University. Her research examines the corporate responses to population aging in urban China in light of the state’s call for industrialization (chanyehua) of eldercare. Based in Nanjing, her research follows a range of actors involved in the eldercare industry, from market researchers, customer service specialists, and salespersons to careworkers, senior residents, and their families. It seeks to capture how such industrialization of eldercare transforms ethical regimes, professionalizes care work, and creates new forms of aging subjects in contemporary urban China.
Tim QUINN (Rice University)
Student Councilor 2021, 2022
Tim Quinn is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at Rice University. His research focuses on the social life of Teno-Em(PrEP), a Thai state manufactured generic HIV prevention drug. Based in Bangkok, his research investigates the drug’s role within contexts of national health governance, as well as within the contexts of an expanding regional biotech market and a growing LGBTQ tourist economy. As this drug is increasingly marketed as both a therapeutic tool and as a modern lifestyle drug for transnationally mobile gay/queer/MSM ‘Asian’ subjects, his dissertation focuses on how encounters and experiments with these drugs are implicated in the production of new forms of knowledge and subjectivity.
Program Committee for SEAA in the 2021 Annual Meeting of the AAA
Paul Christiansen, Satsuki Kawano, Sonia Ryang (chair) [see contacts, above]
SEAA Column Editors (AAA Newsletter) (Appointed by the Board)
Aaron SU, Princeton University, aaronsu[at] princeton.edu
Aaron Su is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at Princeton University pursuing certificates in the History of Science & Gender and Sexuality Studies. His research follows recent urban design trends in China that seek to package political, medical, and environmental objectives into comprehensive technical solutions, and inquires into the complex dynamics and processes that arise within such plans. He is also fascinated by the increasingly dominant institutional framework of “planetary health” and wonders about how East Asia is implicated in its midst.
SEAA Digital Communications (Web, FB, Twitter) (Appointed by the Board)
Hanna PICKWELL, University of Chicago, hpickwell[at] uchicago.edu
Hanna Pickwell is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Chicago. She is interested in contemporary activations of material culture of the past, be they aesthetic, political, and/or supernatural. Her current project is about secondhand consumption, and the various enchantments and anxieties that surround used and outmoded objects in Beijing.
Guven WITTEVEEN, Ph.D., anthroview[at]gmail.com
Guven Witteveen now works on project-based assignments, evaluation and consulting. His interests include visual anthropology, museum studies and public outreach education including the ways to make anthropology more present and visible in public discussions; local history representation and citizen movements, as well as producing materials for foreign language learning.