Photograph of Dr. Kimberly Hassel. She is an Afro-Latina with short curly hair. She is wearing a teal shirt with abstract designs and black pants. She is smiling and looking at the camera.
Learning Services Building Rm 120
Office Hours
Spring 2024: Tuesday 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm (Zoom) & by appointment
Hassel, Kimberly
Assistant Professor

Kimberly Hassel is an anthropologist and digital ethnographer specializing in digital culture, youth culture, diaspora, and identity in contemporary Japan. Her current book project, tentatively titled Intimate Solitudes and Solidarities: Digital Sociality, Youth Culture, and Identity in Contemporary Japan, examines the relationships between Social Networking Services, smartphones, and shifting notions of sociality and selfhood in Japan, especially among young people. Dr. Hassel’s examination of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on digital sociality in Japan and ethnographic methods on a broader scale has appeared in Anthropology News. Her research on instabae (Instagenic) culture and Instagram use among girls and young women as extensions of historical and ongoing forms of gendered socialities and worldmaking practices has been published in Mechademia. Dr. Hassel also specializes in diaspora studies, critical mixed race studies, and Afro-Japanese encounters. Her ongoing project examines media portrayals of mixed-race identity in Japan vis-à-vis lived experience. Her work on digital activism among Black Japanese youths has appeared in “Who Is The Asianist?” The Politics of Representation in Asian Studies. For her next project, Dr. Hassel is interested in exploring transnational Black digital networks in the context of Japan. She is also interested in examining the experiences of Dominican diasporic communities in Japan and Japanese diasporic communities in the Dominican Republic.

At the University of Arizona, Dr. Hassel teaches courses on Japanese popular culture, contemporary Japanese society through an anthropological lens, and critical digital studies. She is affiliated with the School of Anthropology, Gender and Women's Studies, and the Center for East Asian Studies. Beyond the University of Arizona, Dr. Hassel is a research affiliate of the Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, Optimism (DISCO) Network and a participant in the Cultivating Early Career Networks Between Global Asias and Japanese Studies program. 

Dr. Hassel received a PhD in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. She was the recipient of the Princeton University Marjorie Chadwick Buchanan Dissertation Prize. Her dissertation fieldwork was funded by a Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Doctoral Fellowship, which also supported one year as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Comparative Culture at Sophia University. Dr. Hassel holds an MA in East Asian Studies from Princeton University and a BA in Japanese modified with Anthropology from Dartmouth College. As a Dominican New Yorker and an alumna of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, Dr. Hassel is passionate about mentoring students of color who are interested in exploring careers in academia.



2023. "The World as Photo Booth: Women's Digital Practices from Print Club to Instagram in Japan." Mechademia 16(1): 119-143. 

2022. “Black Japanese Storytelling as Praxis: Anti-racist Digital Activism and Black Lives Matter in Japan.” In “Who Is The Asianist?” The Politics of Representation in Asian Studies, edited by William Bridges, IV, Nitasha Sharma, and Marvin Sterling, 139-158. Ann Arbor: Association for Asian Studies. 

2021. “Digital Sociality in COVID-19 Japan.” Anthropology News

Public Scholarship:

2022. “Tell Me About Social Media in Japan.” Tell Me About East Asia Podcast Series, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Arizona.   

2021. “A Digital ‘New Normal’? Examining the Roles of Social Networking Services in COVID-19 Japan.” The Japan Foundation.

2020. "Social Media and Rapid Change in Japanese Society Today." US-Japan Bridging Foundation.

Interviews and Spotlights:

2023.「シュミット堀佐知、キンバリー・ハッセル、ジュナン・チェンによるお喋りの記録の英語版と日本語版」(A three-way conversation between Sachi Schmidt-Hori, Kimberly Hassel, and Junan Chen and its transcripts in English and in Japanese). Springboard Japan.

2023. “Mellon Mays Fellowships at Dartmouth Have National Impact.” Dartmouth College News.

2022. "Kimberly Hassel Takes the Page 99 Test." CaMP Anthropology Blog. 

2022. “Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month Spotlight: Professor Kimberly Hassel.” College of Humanities, University of Arizona.

Currently Teaching

EAS 295 – Topics in East Asian Studies

The exchange of scholarly information and/or secondary research, usually in a small group setting. Instruction often includes lectures by several different persons. Research projects may or may not be required of course registrants.

Topics vary according to instructor, but include aspects of the histories, literatures, languages, religions and cultures of East Asia.

JPN 345 – Megacity Tokyo

Megacity Tokyo combines diverse perspectives in history, geography, anthropology, and cultural studies to analytically engage the myriad ways that infrastructure, traditional arts, and modern social life intermix in Japan's fascinating metropolis of Tokyo, the most populated urban area in the world.