[Karen Nakamura - kanji] Karen Nakamura

1993 B.A., Cornell University. College Scholar Program and Psychology.
1998 M.Phil., Yale University. Socio-Cultural Anthropology.
2001 Ph.D., Yale University. Socio-Cultural Anthropology.

Associate Professor of Anthropology and East Asian Studies
Chair, LGBT Studies
Yale University

Office Location: 10 Sachem Street Room 213
Mailing Address: 10 Sachem Street New Haven CT 06520-8277 USA

Office Tel: 203-432-3795
Office Fax: 203-432-3669

ORCID: 0000-0003-4335-2818

E-mail: karen.nakamura @ yale. edu

Introduction: I am a cultural and visual anthropologist with a research focus on disability, sexuality, and minority social movements in contemporary Japan. My first book, Deaf in Japan, was on sign language, identity, and deaf social movements. I recently finished my second book, which is on schizophrenia and mental illness in Japan and is titled, A Disability of the Soul. I'm currently working on my third project which explores the intersections of disability, gender, and sexuality.

Self-identity: I was born in Indonesia and grew up in Australia, Japan, and the United States. However, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the term "Asian-American" as I'm not quite Asian and not really American, but Returnee -Japanese -Born-Indonesian - Bred-Australian- Quasi-American is a mouthful most people don't want to handle.

Research interests: Minority social movements and identity politics, disability, and gender and sexuality.

Fellowships and Awards: I received a Yale Junior Faculty Fellowship (2007-2008) to conduct research on psychiatric and physical disabilities in Japan and a Yale Senior Faculty Fellowship (2011-2012) to do work on non-mainstream sexualities in Japan. About a decade ago, I was granted an Abe Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council and Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership to pursue my research on comparative disability politics in Japan and the United States during the 2004-2005 academic year. And even further back, one of my journal articles won the 2003 ISS/Oxford University Press Prize for Modern Japanese Studies. It was later selected to be one of Oxford University Press' 100 seminal papers celebrating their centennial of academic publishing. My first monograph, Deaf in Japan, was awarded the 2008 John Whitney Hall Book Prize by the Association for Asian Studies. My second film, A Japanese Funeral, was awarded the SVA Short Film Award in 2010 and the Society for East Asian Anthropology David Plath Media Award in 2011.

National Service: I currently serve on the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association and I am the Chair of the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies. I am also on the Board for the Society for Visual Anthropology (2009-2012; 2012-2015).

Prospective Graduate Students: Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Anthropology, Disability Studies within Anthro, and/or Japan Studies at Yale University should feel free to contact me either by e-mail. The photograph below shows some of the Japan anthropologists that have studied at Yale with Professor Kelly and myself. As you can see, we have had quite a number of doctoral students studying Japan anthropology here, which has made for a vibrant and exciting program.

My senior Japan colleague at Yale, Professor William Kelly, has an extensive description of what the Yale anthropology department is looking for in applicants, prospective doctoral students are strongly advised to read this as our program is quite selective. I've also written some blog entries about graduate programs in Japan Anthropology and doctoral/MA programs in Visual Anthropology and Deaf Studies/Disability Studies.

Affiliated Campus Programs: Yale Council on East Asian Studies; Yale Film Studies; LGBT Studies; and Yale Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Curriculum Vitae: PDF - HTML (updated 2015.06.06)

Teaching Philosophy: A short piece on my philosophy of teaching and mentoring. Also see the "careers" section of my blog.

Public Anthropology: Please see this page regarding interviews and public speaking.

Monographs and Edited Volumes
   2014         クレージー・イン・ジャパン:べてるの家のエスノグラフィー 
          [Crazy in Japan: An Ethnography of Bethel House]
Translation supervision by Koji Ishihara and Tetsuya Kawano.
Tokyo: Igaku Shoin Press. ISBN 4260020587.
[Igaku Shoin; Order this book (Amazon Japan)]
2013 A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia
and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan.
Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. [Cornell University Press; Library of Congress (LoC) Record; Order this book (Amazon)] 2006 Deaf in Japan: Signing and the Politics of Identity.
Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Simultaneous paperback and hardcover versions. [Cornell University Press; Library of Congress (LoC) Record; Order this book (Amazon or Barnes & Noble)] - Winner of the 2008 AAS John Whitney Hall Book Prize
2003 Many Ways to be Deaf: International Variation in Deaf Communities. Ed. Leila Monaghan, Constanze Schmaling, Karen Nakamura, and Graham Turner. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. [Gallaudet University Press; Order this book (Amazon or Barnes & Noble)]
Ethnographic Films
    2010        A Japanese Funeral. 
                Japanese subtitled in English.
                14 min. Color Region 0 NTSC DVD. 
Distributed by Amazon.com. [Official web site and Teacher's Guide; IMDB entry]
- Best Short Film (2010), Society for Visual Anthropology
- David Plath Media Award (2011), Society for East Asian Anthropology
A Japanese Funeral DVD Cover
       2007        Bethel: Community and Schizophrenia in Northern Japan.
                Japanese subtitled in English. 
Japanese language subtitles available. 41 min. Color Region 0 NTSC DVD. Distributed by Amazon.com. [Official web site; IMDb entry]
[Bethel Film]
Journal Articles, Book Chapters, Reviews, and Other Academic Publications
    2015        Review of Manga Girl Seeks Herbivore Boy: Studying Japanese Gender at Cambridge, 
                by Brigitte Steger and Angelika Koch, eds. Social Science Japan Journal.  
    2014        No voice in the courtroom?: Deaf legal cases in Japan during the 1960s.
                In Going to Court to Change Japan: Social Movements and the Law. Ed. Patricia Steinhoff. 
                Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies, Number 77. 147-163. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
                [Order this book (Amazon); University of Michigan Press]
2014 Barrier-Free Brothels: Sex Volunteers, Prostitutes and People with Disabilities. In Capturing Contemporary Japan: Differentiation and Uncertainty. Edited by Glenda Roberts, Satsuki Kawano, and Susan Long. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. [Order this book (Amazon)]
2013 The dysprosody of images. In Visual Research: A Concise Introduction to Thinking Visually.
Edited by Jonathan Marion and Jerome Crowder. New York: Berg. [Order this book (Amazon)]
2013 Making Sense of Sensory Ethnography: The Sensual and the Multisensory. Visual Review Essay.
American Anthropologist. Vol. 115, No. 1 (March 2013): 132-135. [Access via Wiley Online]
2011 Review of Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia [The Bird Dancer, 40 min.;
Family Victim, 38 min.; Shadows and Illuminations, 35 min.], directed by Robert Lemelson (2010).
American Anthropologist, Vol. 113, No. 4, pp. 655–656. [Access via Wiley Online]
2010     The language politics of Japanese Sign Language (Nihon Shuwa). Deaf around the World: The Impact of Language.
Ed. Gaurav Mathur and Donna Jo Napoli. 316-332. New York: Oxford University Press. [Oxford University Press; Order this book (Amazon)]
2009     Review of Amy Borovoy’s The Too-Good Wife: Alcohol, Codependency, and the Politics of Nurturance in Postwar Japan (UC Press 2005). Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Volume 23, No. 2: 184-185.
[Read online; Website for Medical Anthropology Quarterly ]
2009     Disability, Destitution, and Disaster: Surviving the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake in Japan. Human Organization. Volume 68 Issue 1 (Spring): 73-81. [Read online; Website for Human Organization ]
2008     Film review of Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish [Joze to tora to sakana tachi], directed by Isshin Inudo (2003). Asian Educational Media Services News and Reviews. Issue 31 (Winter): 3-4. [Read online; Access via AEMS]
2008     A Case against Giving Informants Cameras and Coming Back Weeks Later (Knowledge Exchange). Anthropology News. Vol. 49, No. 2: 20. Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association. [Read online; Access via Anthrosource] 2007 "The Chrysanthemum and the Queer: Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives on Sexuality in Japan" (review essay) Journal of Homosexuality. Volume 52 Issue 3/4: 267-281. [Read online; Journal of Homosexuality] 2006 "Creating and Contesting Signs in Contemporary Japan: Language Ideologies, Identity and Community in Flux." Sign Language Studies 7:1 (Fall), pp. 11-29. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. [Read abstract; Subscribe to Sign Language Studies] 2006 抵抗と同化:全日本ろうあ連盟と政治権力の関係。社会科学研究、第57巻き第3・4合併号。東京:東京大学社会科学研究所紀要。 [Resistance and Assimilation: The Relationship between the Japanese Federation and the Deaf and Political Power. Shakai Kagaku Kenkyû Vol 57 (3-4). Tokyo: Tokyo University Institute for Social Science.]
2006 Review of Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe, and Misa Matsuda, eds. Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life. Journal of Japanese Studies Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer): 459-462 [About Journal of Japanese Studies; About the book (MIT Press); Order the book (Amazon)] 2006 Two New Ogawa Shinsuke Films (review). Visual Anthropology Volume 19 Issue 3-4: 391-392. [About Visual Anthropology (online contents)] 2006 Review of Jennifer Robertson, ed. A Companion to the Anthropology of Japan. Pacific Affairs. Vol. 79, No. 1 (Spring): 129-130. [About Pacific Affairs; Table of Contents] 2005 Severe Disabilities, Liberalism, and Social Welfare Policy in Japan and the United States. Anthropology News. Vol. 46, No. 9: 58. Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association. [Read online; Access via Anthrosource] 2004 Review of Keiko Hirata's Civil Society in Japan. Social Science Japan Journal. Vol. 7, No. 2 (October): 318-20. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Download PDF from Oxford UP; Subscribe to SSJJ; Order the book (Amazon)] 2004 Review of Megan Jennaway's Sisters and Lovers: Women and Desire in Bali. American Ethnologist. Vol. 31, No 1 (February). [Read the review online (HTML); Subscribe (American Ethnologist); Order the book (Amazon)] 2004 Review of Jennifer Robertson's Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan Visual Anthropology Vol. 17, No. 2: 205-207. New York: Taylor and Francis [Download PDF; Subscribe (Visual Anthropology); About the book (UC Press)] 2003 "U-Turns, 'Deaf Shock,' and the Hard-Of-Hearing: Japanese Deaf Identities at the Borderlands" In Many Ways to be Deaf: International Linguistic and Sociocultural Variation. Ed. Leila Monaghan, Constanze Schmaling, Karen Nakamura, and Graham Turner. pp. 211-229. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. [View Page 1; Gallaudet University Press; Order this book (Amazon)][Book Cover] 2003 "Female masculinity and fantasy spaces: transcending genders in the Takarazuka theatre." With Hisako Matsuo (co-author). In Men and Masculinities in Modern Japan: Dislocating the Salaryman Doxa. Edited by James Roberson and Nobue Suzuki. 59-76. New York: Routledge. [View Page 1; Routledge Press; Order this book (Amazon)] 2002 "Resistance and Co-optation: the Japanese Federation of the Deaf and its Relations with State Power." Social Science Japan Journal. Vol. 5, No. 1 (April), pp 17-35. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [View Page 1; Download PDF from Oxford UP; Subscribe to SSJJ]
- Winner of the 2003 ISS/Oxford Prize for Modern Japanese Studies
- Selected as one of the 100 seminal papers from Oxford Journals (Oxford University Press Centennial) 2002 "Deafness, Ethnicity, and Minority Politics in Modern Malaysia" Macalester International Volume 12 (Autumn): 193-202. St. Paul: Macalester College. 1999 日米のろう運動:比較研究の視点から。手話コミュニケーション研究。 日本手話研究所所報。1999.9 (33): 45-54。 [Deaf Movements in the United States and Japan from a Comparative Analytical Perspective. Sign Language Communication Studies August (33): 45-54. Tokyo: Japanese Institute for Sign Language Studies.] [View Page 1; Subscribe to SLCS (Japanese)] 1999 言語・文化人類学から見た日米ろう社会と教育(講演会記録1998.11.14)。 トータルコミュニケーション研究会会報。No. 79 (冬号):24-39。 [Deaf education in Japan and the U.S.: a comparative approach from a linguistic and sociocultural anthropology perspective (Lecture Transcript of November 14, 1998). Total Communications Research Group Report No. 79. Winter, 1999. Tokyo: Total Communication Research Group.] 1998 民族としてのろう社会:ろう者のアイデンティティ・カルチャーと手話言語コミュニティの形成。 日本手話研究所所報, 1998.3 (27)。 [Ethnically deaf: identity, culture, and the making of sign language communities. Sign Language Communication Studies. 27 (April): 51-58. 1998. Tokyo: Japanese Institute for Sign Language Studies.] [View Page 1; Subscribe to SLCS (Japanese)] 1998 "Transitioning on Campus: A Case Studies Approach." In Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender College Students: A Handbook for Faculty and Administrators. Ronni L. Sahlo, ed. Educators' Reference Collection. Westport, CT: The Greenwood Press. [View Page 1; Order this book (Amazon)] 1997 "Narrating Ourselves: Duped or duplicitous?" In Gender Blending. Bonnie Bullough, Vern Bullough, and James Elias, eds. pp 74-86. Buffalo: Prometheus Press. [View Page 1; Order this book (Amazon)]
Forthcoming Academic Publications
    Forthcoming "No voice in the courtroom?: Deaf legal cases in Japan during the 1960s."
                In Going to Court to Change Japan: Social Movements and the Law (working title). 
                Ed. Patricia Steinhoff.  Chapter manuscript completed. Book manuscript submitted to 
                University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies.
Other Publications
    2002        Eight photographs in "Meeting Malaysia." Text by Jan Shaw-Flamm. 
                Macalester Today (Summer): 22-29.            
    2002        9月11日以降のアメリカ。季刊ミミ 95号(春): 10-11。東京:全日本ろうあ連盟。
                [America after September 11th. Quarterly Mimi. No. 95 (Spring): 10-11.
                Tokyo: Japanese Federation of the Deaf.] 

    2002       "Morals, Sexuality, and Fieldwork." Ethical Currents. 
                Anthropology News. Vol. 43, No. 3 (March): 24. 
                Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association. 
                [View Article (GIF); Subscribe (AAA)]

    2002       "Helpful or Harmful: How Innovative Communication Technology Affects
                Survivors of Intimate Violence." By Ann L. Kranz with Karen Nakamura.
                Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse.
                [View online: http://www.mincava.umn.edu]

If you see nonsense characters in the bibliography above, it is because you are using a web browswer without Japanese character support (UTF-8).


Extracurricular interests: Photography, beagles, electric vehicle design, woodworking, hiking, alpine skiing, snowboarding, and motorcycles.

In my copious spare time, I maintain the Deaf Resource Library as well as Photoethnography.com and also tinker with global positioning systems technology.

Karen Nakamura - Dept. of Anthropology - Yale University - 10 Sachem Street #213- New Haven CT 06520-8277 USA
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