Anne Allison
  • Anne Allison

  • Robert O. Keohane Professor of Cultural Anthropology; Professor of Women's Studies
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • 230 Friedl Building
  • Campus Box 90091
  • Phone: (919) 681-6257
  • Fax: (919) 681-8483
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Research Description

    Anne Allison is a cultural anthropologist who researches the intersection between political economy, everyday life, and the imagination in the context of late capitalist, post-industrial Japan. Her work spans the subjects of sexuality, pornography, and maternal labor to the globalization of Japanese youth products and the precarity of irregular workers. She is the author of Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club (University of Chicago Press, 1994—an ethnography of the Japanese corporate practice of entertaining employees and customers in the sexualized atmosphere of hostess clubs; Permitted and Prohibited Desires: Mothers, Comics, and Censorship in Japan (University of California Press 2000)—a collection of essays analyzing the complex desires linking motherhood, pornographic comics, and popular culture; and Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination (University of California Press, 2006)—a study of the intermeshing of fantasy, capitalism, and cultural politics in the rise of Japan's brand of "cool" youth-goods on the global marketplace. Her most recent book, Precarious Japan (forthcoming from Duke University Press, 2013) looks at the socio-economic shifts in post-corporatist Japan towards precaritization of work, sociality, and everyday security.
  • Selected Publications

      • A. Allison.
      • (Spring, 2009).
      • The Cool Brand and Affective Activism of Japanese Youth.
      • Theory, Culture & Society
      • ,
      • 26
      • (3)
      • .
      • [PDF]
      • A. Allison.
      • (Summer, 2009).
      • Pocket Capitalism and Virtual Intimacy: Pokemon as Symptom of Postindustrial Youth Culture.
      • In Jennifer Cole and Deborah Durham (Eds.),
      • Figuring the Future: Youth and Globalization
      • School of American Research.
      • [PDF]
      • A. Allison.
      • (Summer, 2006).
      • Tamagotchi: The Prosthetics of Presence.
      • Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination
      • (pp. 163-191).
      • University of California Press.
      • [PDF]
      Publication Description

      Book abstract, Millennial Monsters Within the past decade, the currency of made-in-Japan cultural goods has skyrocketed in the global marketplace. From sushi and karoke to martial arts and techno-ware, the globalization of Japanese “cool” today is being led by youth products: video games, manga (comic books), anime (animation), and cute characters that have fostered kid crazes from Hong Kong to Canada. What precisely is it about the fantasies enjoined by these goods and about the conditions of life that inspired them (and the everyday lives of consumers who adopt them) that accounts for such global popularity are the issues taken up in Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination. Delimiting the scope to two places, Japan (as producer) and the United States (as a burgeoning market for Japanese youth goods today) where the author conducted ethnographic fieldwork, the book examines four waves of entertainment properties in terms of their crossover traffic from Japan to the US. These are Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (a live action television show featuring a team of high schoolers who morph into cyber-warriors), Sailor Moon (a comic and cartoon about female super-morphers), tamagotchi (an electronic toy that hatches virtual pets), and Pokémon (a media-mix of cartoon, Game Boy game, movies, comic books, trading cards, and tie-in merchandise driven by the pursuit to “get” endless pocket monsters). Arguing that part of the appeal of such dreamworlds is the polymorphous perversity with which they scramble identity and mix (up) character constitution (bodies with recombinant parts, cyber-powers, morphing capability), the author traces the postindustrial milieu from which such fantasies have arisen in postwar Japan and been popularly received in the United States. From Godzilla—a prehistoric lizard mutated by nuclear testing—to Pokémon—wild monsters that get “pocketed” by their owners—Japan has been a monster-producer, whose commercialized fantasy-fare has gone from cheesy to cool. Currently infusing national coffers with much needed capital, both real and symbolic, Japanese entertainment goods carry a global imagination that, decentered from Americanization, is imprinted—as this book argues—with the logic of millennial capitalism. One sentence book summary By examining the crossover traffic between Japan and the United States of four waves of youth goods, Millennial Monsters explores the global popularity of Japanese youth today, questioning the make-up of the fantasies and the capitalistic conditions of the play properties involved.

      Millennial Monsters came out in June and went into its second printing in December.

      • A. Allison.
      • (2000).
      • Japanese Mothers and Obentōs: The Lunch Box as Ideological State Apparatus.
      • Permitted and Prohibited Desires: Mothers, Comics, and Censorship in Japan
      • (pp. 81-104).
      • Berkeley, CA:
      • University of California Press.
      • [PDF]
      • A. Allison.
      • (1994).
      • Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club.
      • University of Chicago Press.
      • [PDF]
  • View All Publications
  • Specialties

    • Mass Culture
    • Neoliberalism
    • Asia
    • Sexuality
    • Popular Culture
    • Political Economy
    • Gender
    • Globalization of Culture
    • Marxism
    • Urban Anthropology
    • Transnationalism
  • Education

      • PhD,
      • Department of Anthropology,
      • University of Chicago,
      • 1986
      • MA,
      • Department of Anthropology,
      • University of Chicago,
      • 1979
      • BA,
      • Department Anthropology,
      • University of Illinois, Chicago Circle,
      • 1975
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • Bookwatch for Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination,
      • sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute and Duke Libraries,
      • January, 24, 2007
      • Bass Distinguished Chair - Robert O. Keohane Professor,
      • Arts and Sciences,
      • April, 2006
      • Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship,
      • Social Sciences Research Council,
      • 1999-2000
      • Domesticity and Femininity in Japan,
      • Japan Foundation Post-Doctorate Fellowship, Tokyo, Japan,
      • 1997
      • Boyer Prize,
      • Society for Psychological Anthropology,
      • 1994
      • Domesticity and Femininity in Japan,
      • Social Science Research Council Post-Doctorate Fellowship,
      • 1987-1988
      • Corporate Usage of Nightlife,
      • University of Chicago-Rikky, University Exchange Fellowship, Tokyo, Japan,
      • 1981-1982
      • Language training at the Inter-University Language Center,
      • Language training grants from Japan Foundation and University of Chicago, Tokyo, Japan,
      • 1978-1979
  • Teaching

    • CULANTH 804S.01
      • GRANT WRITING
      • Friedl Bdg 118
      • Tu 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
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