- Through his ethnographic research, Morimoto aims to create a space for and language to think about nuclear things and other contaminants as part and parcel of what it means to live in the late industrial and post-fallout era, rather than as alien species that must and should be held at a distance from humans. Morimoto is currently working on a book project, tentatively titled The Nuclear Ghost: Atomic Livelihood in Fukushima’s Gray Zone. This book integrates environmental anthropology, recent Japanese history, and science and technology studies to understand the uses and applications of technologies in social processes whereby certain sensory-cognitive experiences are (im)materialized. Morimoto uses the term “nuclear ghost” to analyze the struggles of representing and experiencing low-dose radiation exposure in coastal Fukushima, where individual, social, political and scientific determinations of the threshold of exposure are often inconsistent.
- Ranjini Obeyesekere taught for several years in the Literature and Society Program of the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego. Her teaching and research focus on literary works, specifically of the South Asian area, their sociopolitical impact, and the insights they provide into the society and culture. Her publications include Sinhala Writing and the New Critics, An Anthology of Modern Sri Lankan Writing (coeditor), Jewels of the Doctrine, and articles on ritual drama and performance. She has also published translations of Sri Lankan poetry and fiction. At Princeton, Dr. Obeyesekere taught a course on colonialism and South Asian culture, using literary works to highlight specific issues.
- Gananath Obeyesekere has engaged in fieldwork in Sri Lanka and India. He is most interested in psychoanalysis and anthropology and the ways in which personal symbolism is related to religious experience. He has recently become interested in European voyages of discovery to Polynesia in the 18th century and after, and the implications of these voyages for the development of ethnography. His books include Land Tenure in Village Ceylon, Medusa's Hair, The Cult of the Goddess Pattini, Buddhism Transformed (coauthor), The Work of Culture, The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the Pacific, and Making Karma. Professor Obeyesekere teaches classes in psychoanalysis and anthropology, hermeneutics, social anthropology, and Buddhism.
Hildred Geertz has done extensive fieldwork in Java, Morocco, and Bali. She has recently completed more than two years of fieldwork research in the village of Batuan on the Indonesian island of Bali. Working in the same village that was studied in the 1930s by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, Professor Geertz has focused her study on the interconnections between different Balinese art forms and how and why such forms have changed through time. The effects of economic development and tourism on Balinese artistic endeavor were also investigated.
comparative hierarchies and heterodoxies, history of anthropological ideas, language and culture, ritual and literature, discourses of interrelated arts
- Andrew Alan Johnson’s research focuses upon the afterlife of environmental and economic catastrophe in the northern and northeastern region of Thailand. His first book, Ghosts of the New City, takes a historical look at the idea of the city in northern Thailand. Taking post-economic crisis Chiang Mai as a starting point, Johnson traces its transformation from Buddhist center to nationalist symbol to site of anxiety as the very idea of progress reaches a state of crisis. His current project looks at spectral sources of power in the lives of Lao-speaking fishermen and migrant workers from the Mekong River in the wake of massive dam projects and environmental disruption.
- Amy Borovoy is a cultural anthropologist who studies modern Japanese society and culture. Her work has focused on health care and mental health in the context of Japan’s social democracy, with an emphasis on family and corporate welfare. She has written on the cultural construction of alcoholism and codependency in The Too-Good Wife: Alcohol, Codependence, and the Politics of Nurturance in Postwar Japan (University of California 2005), which explores the problem of male alcoholism and the role of the housewife and domesticity in public life. Borovoy's work on the phenomenon of hikikomori (young adults who isolate themselves at home) explores resistance to the medicalization of youth issues among psychiatrists, social workers, and teachers. Borovoy has also written "Japan as Mirror: Neoliberalism's Promise and Costs,” in Ethnographies of Neoliberalism (Carol J. Greenhouse, editor), “The Rise of Eating Disorders in Japan: Issues of Culture and Limitations of the Model of ‘Westernization’” co-authored with Kathleen Pike, and “Decentering Agency in Feminist Theory” with Kristen Ghodsee. Her current manuscript in progress, Japan in American Social Thought, explores postwar Japan studies as a space in which to imagine alternatives to liberalism and individualism in American anthropology and the social sciences.