University of Pittsburgh
March 1, 2013

Pitt Hosts March 7-9 Anthropology Conference Focusing on Mobility in Japan

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Mobility in Japan will be the theme of an upcoming conference on the anthropology of Japan, with more than three-dozen scholars from Japan and across the United States gathering to attend the multiday event hosted and cosponsored by the University of Pittsburgh.

The 23rd Conference of the Japan Anthropology Workshop will be held Thursday, March 7, through Saturday, March 9, at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association (PAA), 4215 Fifth Avenue, Oakland. Previous conferences have been held throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.

The international conference is highlighted by two free public events.

Glenda S. Roberts, director of the international studies program at Waseda University in Japan, will give the conference’s keynote address, “‘Greying Gap Society’ Meets ‘Immigration Nation’: How Is Japan Imagining Mobilities in Its Future?” Roberts will trace developments in Japan’s migration policy in recent years, highlighting the country’s debate between those who see increased legal immigration as a way to revitalize the nation’s economy and those who are wary of admitting more immigrants. Roberts’ address will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, March 8, in the PAA’s main dining room. Business casual dress is requested.

“Terms of Fieldwork” is a discussion of anthropological research, focusing on the multifilm documentary project Can’t Go Native?, with excerpts to be shown from More About Misuzawa, one of the films in the series. Participants will include L. Keith Brown, professor emeritus in Pitt’s Department of Anthropology, who is featured in the films; David Plath, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Illinois and producer and editor of the film project; and John W. Traphagan, faculty research associate and associate professor of religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin. The discussion will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, 650 Schenley Drive, Oakland.

The conference’s theme of mobility will be addressed in a number of other papers focusing on such topics as social and cultural changes following the 2011 tsunami, strategic uses of the Japanese language by subcultures, and the case of Japanese-born baseball player Yu Darvish, who is half-Iranian and came to the U.S. major leagues in 2011.

The conference registration fee is $70 for Japan Anthropology Workshop members, $80 for nonmembers, and $40 for students; it includes admission to a reception Friday evening. Single-day rates to the panels for students with valid Pitt IDs are $5, and $10 for non-Pitt students. Attendees may register at the door or may visit to register online.

The conference is co-organized by two Pitt anthropology PhD graduates: Blaine P. Connor (A&S ’10G), director of academic affairs in Pitt’s College of General Studies; and John W. Traphagan (A&S ’97G), associate professor in the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Religious Studies. It is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Asian Studies Center and University Center for International Studies; the Japan Iron and Steel Federation and Mitsubishi Endowments at the University of Pittsburgh; the Japan Anthropology Workshop; and the University of Texas at Austin.  

The Japan Anthropology Workshop is an association for scholars concentrating on the anthropology of Japan. This international organization holds major conferences as well as smaller workshops and seminars, issues a biannual newsletter, and partners with Routledge Press in publishing selected works on the anthropology of Japan. See for more information.