Graduate Students

Current graduate students focusing on Japan:

Ignacio Adriasola – Art History, Duke
Ignacio Adriasola is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University, where he is also pursuing a Certificate in Feminist Studies from the Women’s Studies Program. Originally from Santiago, Chile, he graduated with a BA and MA in History from Chiba University in Japan. His dissertation Melancholy Sites: The Affective Politics of Marginality in Post-Anpo Japan (1960-1970) examines the intersection of experimental art, literature, performance, photography, and architecture, as artists and intellectuals grappled with feelings of political disillusionment and ambiguity after the collapse of the anti-Anpo Protests of 1960.

Tōmatsu Shōmei, from his Protest series, 1969 (detail).

Mari Armstrong-Hough – Sociology, Duke

Dwayne Dixon – Cultural Anthropology, Duke

Christopher Flaherty – Cultural Anthropology, Duke
I am generally interested in the effects of occupation and the U.S. Base presence on Japan (specifically Okinawa) and Korea.

Laurel Foote-Hudson – Comparative Literature, UNC
“I am a second year graduate student in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  My current research interests have been influenced by both Spanish and Japanese languages and literature. Over the past few years, I have shifted from a primary/secondary approach to an approach that is much more comparative in nature.  In addition to this change, my research mediums have also expanded to better reflect my interest in the genres of theater and travelogues of 17th century Spain and Japan.  I consider both theater and travelogues to be captivating tools for representing the foreign “other”.  Framing both of these genres within their respective literary and cultural contexts is my growing interest in Occidental and Orientalist theory.  Over the next few years I wish to rely on this emerging theoretical basis as a way to explore the conceptualization of Japan as well as Spain and other Western nations as respective “others” in both a modern and traditional context.”

Nadia Hemady – Cultural Anthropology, Duke

Magdalena Kolodziej – Art History, Duke
modern Japanese art and culture

Daniele Lauro – History, UNC
I am interested in the material culture of early modern Japan. My M.A. thesis examined the history and aesthetics of firearms (teppô) in Japan between the 16th and 19th centuries. I have conducted research at the Smithsonian in the Asian Cultural History Program (National Museum of Natural History), the Oriental Art Museum in Venice, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Tokyo, Japan. I have studied at the University of Naples, the University of Paris, and the University of Rome.

Ricky Law – History, UNC
“My dissertation explores interwar German-Japanese relations by examining and comparing the two countries’ mutual representations in civil society. Specifically, my project studies the attitudes of prewar Japan and Germany toward one another as reflected in newspapers, motion pictures, speeches and pamphlets, monographs, interest clubs, and textbooks. Through this investigation I hope to discover the extent and nature of bilateral understanding among non-expert Germans and Japanese, and to place the formation process of the Berlin-Tokyo Axis in a transcultural perspective.”

Matthew Mitchell – Religion, Duke
Matt Mitchell is a doctoral student in the Asian Religions Track of Duke University’s Religion Department.  He focuses on popular religion in Japan’s Early Modern Period, with particular interests in pilgrimage, displays of religious images (kaichō), status marginality (mibunteki shūen), and material culture.  His dissertation will focus on the relationships between Zenkōji Temple (a major pilgrimage site in Nagano City) and the residents of its fief.  His advisor is Richard Jaffe, and he regularly works with Barbara Ambros (Religion, UNC), Simon Partner (History, Duke), Morgan Pitelka (Asian Studies, UNC), and Daniel Botsman (History, Yale).

Zenkoji Temple, where Matt does his research

Marguerite Murnau – Art History, Duke
“My interests include the aesthetics of performance (broadly understood), especially that involving violence and/or horror ”

Maria Piper – History, NCSU
public education and the creation of national and gender identities in Japan and the world

Tim Prizer – Anthropology, UNC

“I received my Master’s degree in Folklore in 2009 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I am now a doctoral student in Anthropology.  Though still in development, my dissertation research explores the interconnected worlds of cultural preservationists and robotics engineers in Fukushima and Tokyo, Japan — groups who, in recent years, have begun to “teach” humanoid robots to perform traditional Japanese dances, ostensibly so as to preserve the dances as human performers age and pass away.  I understand this effort as one that unites a nation’s past with its future — national heritage preservation with technological innovation. Moreover, the campaign speaks directly to my interests in materiality and memory, and it allows me to engage these concerns through questions ranging from performance, mimesis, and embodiment to posthumanism and human-nonhuman interaction.  My dissertation committee consists of anthropologists Chris Nelson and Margaret Wiener, in addition to folklorist Patricia Sawin, all of whom are based at UNC.”

Jeffrey Schroeder – Religion, Duke

Kari Shepherdson-Scott – Art History, Duke
2011 Winner of a Japan Art History Forum (JAHF) Graduate Student Travel Grant for her paper, “The Spectacle of the Authentic: Manchukuo and the Segmented Spaces of Japanese Voyeurism”

Michael Smith – History, UNC

Jennifer Snow – gender, sexuality, and popular culture, Duke