Nathaniel M. Smith joined the East Asian Studies department in August 2013 after two years serving as the Japan Foundation Faculty Fellow in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at UC Santa Barbara. A cultural anthropologist specializing in Japan, Smith’s research interests include political anthropology, sound and visual anthropology, music and youth culture, modern Japanese history and film, bicycle craftsmen, and the history of anthropology. His current manuscript, based on his doctoral dissertation, “Right-Wing Activism in Japan and the Politics of Futility” (Yale 2011), is an ethnography of the moral and social worlds of Japan’s prominent rightist activist groups. His most recent publication, “Facing the Nation: Sound, Fury, and Public Oratory among Japanese Right-Wing Groups,” is a contribution to the edited volume Sound, Space, and Sociality in Modern Japan. In addition to doctoral training in anthropology, Smith holds an MA in East Asian Studies from Yale University, an MA in International Relations from Waseda University, and a BA in Foreign Language from the Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Language at UC Riverside.
Smith teaches courses on the anthropology, history, and cultural study of modern Japan, ranging from film, fashion, and visual culture, to war, nationalism, and activist movements. Current courses include JPN 245: Anime and Japanese Visual Culture (Honors section available), EAS 466/566: Chinese and Japanese Nationalisms (cross-listed in Political Science), JPN 425/525: The Anthropology of Japan (cross-listed in Anthropology), Honors thesis advising, and independent study courses.