Andrea Gevurtz Arai




Andrea Gevurtz Arai teaches Japan and East Asia anthropology and society courses at the University of Washington. Arai’s ethnographic monograph, The Strange Child: Education and the Psychology of Patriotism in Recessionary Japan is forthcoming in March, 2016 from Stanford University Press. The book is a long-term fieldwork study of how education and psychology come together under the conditions of recession to produce new discourses and practices of education, a redefining of cultural ideologies, child-focused problems and “neoliberal patriotic” solutions. The Strange Child uncovers the effects on and creative responses by the recessionary generation to a dramatically altered educational, labor and discursive environment dominated by independence, self-development and responsibility. With Clark Sorensen (UW, Korea Studies), Arai has co-edited Spaces of Possibility: In, Between and Beyond Korea and Japan forthcoming from University of Washington Press, Spring, 2016. The Spaces of Possibility volume is the result of cross-national, collaborative fieldwork in South Korea and Japan, an interdisciplinary conference and the development of a graduate and undergraduate course. Arai’s chapter is concerned with the conversion of a former colonial prison in Seoul into a history museum, strategies of display, “dehorrifying” of exhibits, Japanese tourists, and the exclusion of the “comfort women” from this space of representation. The chapter juxtaposes the struggles over how to (re) present the colonial period (and postcolonial landscape) at the prison history hall in Seoul with the absence of its mention in the presence of priceless Korean folk art objects in the Japan Folk Art Museum in Tokyo. A related fieldsite is the Korean popular culture town, Shin Okubo, in Tokyo.

Arai’s new projects include: “Alternative Spaces, Livelihoods and Post-Fukushima Awareness in Japan,” fieldwork research on reverse migration (the U-turn/I-turn phenomena), sustainability, creativity and counter-culture in post-bubble Japan. “Online and Off-Center” focuses on online communities and their offline relays in Japan and South Korea. “Japanese Narratives of Legibility,” explores the way narratives of the environment open up possibilities for re-imagining spatial and temporal connections.


  • Columbia University, Ph.D. Anthropology, 2004
  • Columbia University, M.A. Philosophy, 1999
  • Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, M.A. Communications and Translation Studies, 1986
  • Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, TESL Post-Bac Certificate, 1984
  • Occidental College, Los Angeles, California, B.A. Sociology and French, 1978