Kimberly Hassel is an anthropologist and digital ethnographer specializing in the intersections of digital culture, youth culture, and identity in contemporary Japan. Her current book project 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. 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.
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 (ICC) 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.