Ayako Takamori – Bio

Ayako Takamori, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary and Applied Liberal Arts



Ph.D., Anthropology, New York University
M.A., Anthropology, New York University
Cert. in Culture & Media, Anthropology and Cinema Studies, New York University
B.A., Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies, Smith College


Ayako Takamori’s teaching and research is driven by an enduring interest in how identities are negotiated and mediated across borders and in post-conflict contexts through cultural citizenship and activism. Drawing on her background in sociocultural anthropology, her work is conceived at the interdisciplinary juncture of Asian Studies and Asian American Studies, and her areas of expertise span comparative race and ethnicity, transnationalism and globalization, nationalism and multiculturalism, gender and sexuality, and media and visual cultures. She is also trained in documentary film and video production. From 2011-2013, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Tokyo through the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Her aim as an educator is to forge pathways of social justice and belonging for students, in which higher education provides students with tools to strengthen communities and dismantle existing systems of inequality.

Selected Publications

In Progress [book manuscript] Traversing Borders: Japanese American Transpacific Positionings

Forthcoming “Fault Lines of Occupation, Limits of Hybridity: Race, Class & Transnationalism Okinawa” in Beyond American Occupation: Race and Agency in Okinawa, H. Matsuda and P. Iacobelli, ed.

2015 “Henna Nihongo (Strange Japanese): On the Linguistic Baggage of Racial Strangeness.” Journal of Japanese Language and Literature, 49(2).

2011 “Rethinking Japanese American ‘Heritage’ in the Homeland.” In Heritage, Nation and Language, N. Doerr, ed. Routledge. [reprint]

2010 “Rethinking Japanese American ‘Heritage’ in the Homeland.” Critical Asian Studies, 42(2): 217-238.

Selected Presentations

2016 “Undoing Running Scripts: Bodily Experience and Sensory Ethnography” American Anthropological Association, Minneapolis, MN

2015 “Techniques and Technologies of the Runner’s Body: Gender and the Ecological Imagination in Japan.” American Anthropological Association, Denver, CO

2015 “Fault lines of Occupation: Race, Class and Transnationalism in Okinawa” Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference Chicago, IL

2014 “Japanese Americans on the Move: Reshaping Identities Across the Pacific” Conference: Issues of Identity. The College of William and Mary

2014 “Representing Racial Others in Japanese Visual and Popular Culture.” Washington Area Forum, Center for Asian Studies. American University

2014 “Globalizing Japanese/America: Shifting Identifications across the Pacific” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting. Washington, DC

2013 “Race-Play and the Visual Semiotics of Blackface in Japan.” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL.

2013 “Transpacific Longings: Adaptive Transnational Identification in Japan“ Oxford Migration Studies Society Annual Conference, University of Oxford, UK

2012 “The Cute Savage: Visual Semiotics and Racialized Iconography.” Mechademia. Seoul, Korea

2012 “Mixed Race Okinawans and Boundaries of Hybridity.” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA. (Invited)

2012 “Tracing Discourses of Multiculturalism in Japan.” Asian Studies Association of Australia Biennial Conference. Univ. of Western Sydney.

2011 [With Sarah Mountz] “Tool sharing: Visual Methods, Comparative Feminisms and InterdisciplinaryFriendship.” Unsettling Feminisms. University of Illinois, Chicago.

2011 “Claiming Hapa Identity in Japan: The Transnationalization of Hapa Cultural Activism.” Association for Asian Studies. Honolulu, HI.