Book Announcement: Beyond Ainu Studies: Changing Academic and Public Perspectives

HudsonCOVER4.inddVia University of Hawai’i Press.

Editors: Mark J. Hudson, Ann-Elise Lewallen, Mark K. Watson
272pp. January 2014
Cloth – Price: $52.00ISBN: 978-0-8248-3697-9

In 2008, 140 years after it had annexed Ainu lands, the Japanese government shocked observers by finally recognizing Ainu as an Indigenous people. In this moment of unparalleled political change, it was Uzawa Kanako, a young Ainu activist, who signalled the necessity of moving beyond the historical legacy of “Ainu studies.” Mired in a colonial mindset of abject academic practices, Ainu Studies was an umbrella term for an approach that claimed scientific authority vis-à-vis Ainu, who became its research objects. As a result of this legacy, a latent sense of suspicion still hangs over the purposes and intentions of non-Ainu researchers.

This major new volume seeks to re-address the role of academic scholarship in Ainu social, cultural, and political affairs. Placing Ainu firmly into current debates over Indigeneity, Beyond Ainu Studies provides a broad yet critical overview of the history and current status of Ainu research. With chapters from scholars as well as Ainu activists and artists, it addresses a range of topics including history, ethnography, linguistics, tourism, legal mobilization, hunter-gatherer studies, the Ainu diaspora, gender, and clothwork. In its ambition to reframe the question of Ainu research in light of political reforms that are transforming Ainu society today, this book will be of interest to scholars and students in Indigenous studies as well as in anthropology and Asian studies.

Contributors: Misa Adele Honde, David L. Howell, Mark J. Hudson, Deriha Kōji, Ann-Elise Lewallen, Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Hans Dieter Ölschleger, Kirsten Refsing, Georgina Stevens, Sunazawa Kayo, Tsuda Nobuko, Uzawa Kanako, Mark K. Watson, Yūki Kōji.

14 illus.

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