Andrea Gevurtz Arai

Lecturer
Andrea Arai

About

Andrea Gevurtz Arai teaches Japan and East Asia anthropology and society courses in the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.

She is the author of: The Strange Child: Education and the Psychology of Patriotism in Recessionary Japan (SUP, 2016); co-editor w/Clark Sorensen of Spaces of Possibility: In, Between and Beyond Korea and Japan (UW Pres, 2016); and co-editor w/Ann Anagnost of Global Futures in East Asia (SUP, 2014).

The Strange Child is a long-term fieldwork study of how education and psychology came together under the conditions of long term recession, creating “child” centered problems, “neoliberal patriotic” solutions, altering cultural ideologies, and socially re-engineering the relation between education and labor. The Strange Child tracks the deleterious effects of this dramatically altered national-cultural environment on the recessionary generation as well as their creative responses.

Spaces of Possibility In, Between and Beyond Korea and Japan is the product of cross-national, collaborative fieldwork. Arai’s chapter focuses on the struggles over how to represent the colonial period and postcolonial landscapes at the Seodaemun Prison History Hall in Seoul and the Japan Folk Art Museum in Tokyo. In Global Futures, Arai’s chapter, “Notes to the Heart” engages with a moral’s curriculum for the age of recession and its relation to the 2006 revision of the Fundamental Law of Education enacted in 1947 alongside the new postwar constitution.

Arai is working on a second major fieldwork project, book and multi-media piece. The project follows the migration of young urbanites from Tokyo and Seoul to regional towns and countrysides in Japan and Korea. It explores their do-it-ourselves livelihoods: rebuilding vacated old homes and public buildings, reviving public spaces, contributing to craft industries, creating small businesses, art collectives, and reclaiming the means of production. Producing “heterotopic” spaces of difference, these young migrants gather together in person and through social media to challenge temporal hierarchies of place and ethnic background, gendered divisions of labor, and “from below” resist social and natural forms of extraction.

Arai is completing a separate article on Ishimure Michiko’s, Lake of Heaven. This piece engages with Ishimure’s environmental and ethnographic sensibilities that come together in Lake of Heaven to produce powerful representations of generational time and sonic inheritance.

Arai is also developing an interdisciplinary course, reading and writing group at the University of Washington on topics of race, racialization and mixed race.


Education

  • Columbia University, Ph.D. Anthropology, 2004
  • Columbia University, MPhil, Anthropology, 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