Surak, Kristin

Senior Lecturer in Japanese Politics

University of London, SOAS, United Kingdom

United States

Max Weber alumnus

Department of Political and Social Sciences

Cohort(s): 2010/2011

Ph.D. Institution

University of California, Los Angeles , United States


My research centres on international migration, culture, ethnicity, nationalism, and globalization. While at the EUI I will begin a project offering the first systematic sociological study of the integration of highly skilled western workers into the urban environments of Tokyo, Seoul, and Shanghai.
This ethnographic investigation seeks to understand how belonging is negotiated and urban identities are reconfigured in the everyday lives of these global movers by focusing on how they interact with the distinctive properties of their urban contexts and how their surrounding urban landscapes are re-shaped around them.
Prior to coming to the EUI, I was a Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Postdoctoral Fellow with the Sainsbury Institute (SOAS, University of London; University of East Anglia) where I completed a book manuscript, Making Tea, Making Japanese, based on my dissertation work in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. The book examines the relationship between cultural practices and national meanings by investigating how the tea ceremony is produced and sustained as distinctively Japanese.
I am also involved in a collaborative project with Professors John Skrentny and David Fitzgerald at the University of California, San Diego that explores global variations in family reunification policies.
While a teaching assistant at UCLA I taught classes on globalization, collective behaviour, and classical and contemporary social theory.
I have published articles on migration policy (International Migration Review, 2008) and on migrants’ cultural practices (Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2006).

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