I have four ongoing projects that reflect my research interests. They center on food insecurity, agriculture, gender, and small-scale business in Oregon, Japan, and Tajikistan. I welcome graduate students whose research interests are related to mine: Low-income Gleaners in Oregon, Organic Agriculture in Japan, Small Businesswomen in Tajikistan, and The Changing Lives of Japanese Women.
Low-income Gleaners in Oregon:
In conjunction with the Gleaners Groups of the Linn-Benton Food Share, I am doing an oral history project with Gleaners. Gleaners are volunteers who work to increase their food insecurity through various forms of food gleaning. They gather and distribute the food not only to people in their group but also to adoptees who cannot participate because of disabilities. We are going to interview people about their achievements and challenges throughout their lives as well as about their participation in Gleaning. Graduate students will be helping me with this project.
Organic Agriculture in Japan:
In 2012, I conducted in-depth interviews with over forty organic farmers in Japan, particularly in the Northeast (Tohoku) and around Tokyo. I am analyzing that material and writing on it with the help of a grant from the Center of Humanities at Oregon State University. One important question is: How do farmers who were affected by Fukushima radiation respond to the situation of radiation in their food and fields? An article on this will be published soon in Ethnos. Another important question is: How have organic farmers changed in Japan from the 1970s to the 2010s? Especially I am interested in the contrast of how the nature of resistance has changed in a developed economy like Japan from the post-war era of modern capitalism to the present era of neoliberal politics and late modern capitalism. What kind of resistance is possible, feasible, or desirable to the participants? Women in organic agriculture is another interest of mine and a chapter in Capturing Contemporary Japan, an edited volume out of University of Hawaii, hones in on one young woman farmer.
Small Businesswomen in Tajikistan:
During my sabbatical I interviewed over fifty very small-scale businesswomen in four regions of Tajikistan. Many of them started making and selling bread, samosa, or dresses in the bazaar when their family had literally nothing during and after the Civil War in the 90s. Some have grown their businesses on small loans, but many have grown loaf by loaf into businesses that support their families and in some cases send their children to university. With husbands and/or sons who often migrate to Russia for work, globalization affects women by making them the ‘ones left behind’ who must fend for themselves, occasionally receiving monetary remittances. Main questions in this research are: What are the barriers to business and what eases business for women? What are the impacts of doing business on women, their families, and their communities? How do women negotiate cultural and gender values that are longstanding yet changing as Tajiks participate in the global market?
The Changing Lives of Japanese Women:
Ever since 1993, I have been engaged in a longitudinal study with a group of women in Japan who were single and between the ages of 25 and 35 when I began. My latest book on this study is just coming out from University of Hawaii Press: Dilemmas of Adulthood: Nuances of Long-term Resistance among Japanese Women. In this book I propose that the terms of ambiguity and ambivalence, which are often simple descriptors, are central concepts that describe the type of long-term resistance that these women practice in this age of late modernity. Raised in the post-war era of economic growth, they carry both a strong sense communicated by their mothers of what it is to be a proper post-war Japanese woman and a consciousness constructed by their generation of what they hope for in meaningful marriages, work, and hobbies. The book traces the thoughts and actions of single women, those married without children, and married women, working and non-working, to see how long-term resistance plays out in women’s lives. Life has more possibilities than in the past, but also more risks, with few scripts to lead them forward. The book ends with an epilogue that shows their reactions to the new risks that envelope them after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and radiation.
- In Press Seeking Food Rights: Nation, Difference, and Repression in Uzbekistan. Wadsworth/Cengage Series on Contemporary Social Issues
- 2001 Gambling with Virtue: Japanese Women and Sense of Self in a Changing Nation. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.
- 1997 Truk Ethnography, with John Young and Joe Harding. San Francisco, CA: Micronesian Endowment for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service.
- 2009 "The Double Binds of Getting Food among the Poor in Rural Oregon" in Food, Culture and Society, in press.
- 2009 "Global Food Terror in Japan: Risk Perception in Media, Nation and Women" in Ecology of Nutrition and Food,48:4, July-August.
- 2007 Patriotic Appetites and Gnawing Hungers: Food and the Paradox of Nation-building in Uzbekistan, in Ethnos 72(3):339-360.
- 2005 Rural Women and Versions of Modernization in Northeast Japan, in Tradition and Modernity in Northeast Japan, edited by John Traphagan and Christopher Thompson, Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
- 2002 Business Anthropology in a Work Subculture: Korean and Japanese Young, Single, Working Women, in The Applied Anthropology Reader, edited by J.H. McDonald, Boston: Allyn and Bacon, pp. 403-413.
Work in Progress
- Resistance as Tension over Time: Japanese Women and the ‘Gauntlet of Choice'
- “The Organic Agriculture Movement in Japan”, Issue on Food Fights: US Food Commodities and Resistance Movements around the World. Food and Foodways, resubmission
- 2005 Review of Final Days by Susan Orpett Long. American Anthropologist.
- 2003 Review of Women on the Verge: Japanese Women, Western Dreams, by Karen Kelsky. The Journal of Japanese Studies.
- 2001 Review of Taming Oblivion: Aging Bodies and the Fear of Senility in Japan, by John Traphagan, and Caring for the Elderly in Japan, by Susan O. Long. The Journal of Japanese Studies 27(2):481.
- 1999 Review of Contemporary Urban Japan: A Sociology of Consumption, by John Clammer, and A Japanese Advertising Agency, by Brian Moeran. The Journal of Japanese Studies 25(1):129.
- 1998 Review of The Gift of Generations: Aging in Japan and the US, Cambridge University Press, 1996. American Anthropologist 100(2):565.
Papers Presented at Conferences
- 2009 Ambivalence and Tension over Time: Japanese Women, Conference on Erotic Justice and New Scripts for Asian Women, University of Hong Kong, May 14-16.
- 2009 Struggles with Identity and Relationships in Consumer Heaven: Organic Agriculture in Japan, Presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology, Santa Fe, March 17-20.
- 2009 Chaired Panel with Joan Gross, Frontier Rural Resiliency in Oregon, Presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology, Santa Fe, March 17-20.
- 2008 US Commodities in Japan and the Organic Agriculture Movement, Presented at the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, November 19-23.
- 2008 Poison Gyoza in Japan: Media, Risk Perception and the Nation, Presented at Food and Society Conference, New Orleans, June 3-5.
- 2007 Japanese Young Women and the Pursuit of Self." Presented at 3rd Conference on Emerging Adulthood, Tuscon, Arizona, Feb 15-17.
- 2007 Association on the Study of Nationalities, Columbia University, April 14-16.
- 2006 "Challenges in Feeding Ourselves" Presented at Horticulture Seminar Series, Oregon State University, Corvallis, October.
- 2006 "Female, Single and Older-than-Average in Tashkent" Presented at Central Eurasian Studies Society, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, September.
- 2006 "Rural Communities and Food Security," Presented at Rural Studies Initiative Conference, Oregon State University, April.
- 2006 "Food Strategies Amidst Poverty: Low-income People in Rural Oregon," Presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology Conference, Vancouver BC, March.
- 2005 "Low Fertility and Construction of Self in Japan," Presented at the American Anthropological Society, Washington, DC, November 30.
- 2005 Food in Uzbekistan: Images of Plenty and Unity in Challenging Times, Presented at the Central Eurasian Studies Society, Boston, MA, October 1.
- 2005 Discussant for panel on Cultural Identity in Central Asia, Central Eurasian Studies Society, Boston, MA, October 1.
- 2005 Ethnicity and Modernity, Conference on The Modern and Traditional Ethnocultural Processes in Central Asia, Sept 19, Institute of History, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.