Anne Allison

Anne Allison

Professor of Cultural Anthropology

External address: 
230 Friedl Building, East Campus, Durham, NC 27708-0091
Internal office address: 
Box 90091, Durham, NC 27708-0091
(919) 681-6257


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.

Degrees & Credentials

  • Ph.D., The University of Chicago 1986

Selected Grants

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Anxious Care: Radioactive Uncertainty and the Politics of Life in Post-Nuclear Japan awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2020

Allison, A. Permitted and prohibited desires: Mothers, comics, and censorship in Japan. 2019, pp. 1–225. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9780429301384. Full Text

Allison, A. Precarious Japan. Duke University Press, 2013.

Allison, A. “A Sociality Of, and Beyond, ’My-Home’ in Post-Corporate Japan.” Sociality, New Directions, edited by Henrietta Moore and Nick Long, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Allison, A. “The Attractions of the J-Wave for American Youth.” Soft Power Superpowers: Cultural and National Assets of Japan and the United States, edited by Watanabe Yasushi and David McConnell, M.E. Sharpe, 2009.

Allison, A. “Pocket Capitalism and Virtual Intimacy: Pokemon as Symptom of Postindustrial Youth Culture.” Figuring the Future: Globalization and the Temporalities of Children and Youth, edited by Jennifer Cole and Deborah Lynn Durham, School for Advanced Research Press, 2008. Open Access Copy

Allison, A. “New-age Fetishes, Monsters, and Friends: Pokemon in the Age of Millennial Capitalism.” Japan after Japan, edited by Tomiko Yoda and Harry Harootunian, Duke University Press, 2006.

Allison, A. “Tamagotchi: The Prosthetics of Presence.” Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination, University of California Press, 2006, pp. 163–91.

Allison, A. “Cuteness as Japan’s Millennial Product.” Pikachu’s Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokemon, edited by Joseph Tobin, Duke University Press, 2004, pp. 34–49.

Allison, A. “Playing with Power: Morphing Toys and Transforming Heroes in Kids’ Mass Culture.” Power and the Self, edited by Jeannette Marie Mageo, Cambridge University, 2002, pp. 71–92.

Allison, A. “Japanese Mothers and Obentōs: The Lunch Box as Ideological State Apparatus.” Permitted and Prohibited Desires: Mothers, Comics, and Censorship in Japan, University of California Press, 2000, pp. 81–104.

Allison, A. “Cyborg Heroes Populate Popular Culture.” Popular Culture in Japan and Outside, edited by Doug Slaymaker, University of Hawaii’i Press, 1998, pp. 25–40.

Allison, A. “Cutting the Fringes: Pubic Hair at the Margins of Japanese Obscenity Laws.” Hair in Asian Cultures: Context and Change, edited by Alf Heitelbeitel and Barbara Miller, SUNY Albany Press, 1997, pp. 195–218.


Allison, A. Sailor Moon: Japanese Superherofeosr global girls. Apr. 2015, pp. 259–78.

Allison, A. American Geishas and Oriental/ist Fantasies. Edited by Purnima Mankekar and Louisa Schein, Duke University Press, July 2013.

Allison, A. “Ordinary refugees: Social precarity and soul in 21st century Japan.” Anthropological Quarterly, vol. 85, no. 2, June 2012, pp. 345–70. Scopus, doi:10.1353/anq.2012.0027. Full Text

Allison, A. “The Cool Brand and Affective Activism of Japanese Youth.” Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 26, no. 3, Mar. 2009, pp. 89–111. Open Access Copy

Allison, A. “La culture populaire japonaise et l'imaginaire global.” Critique Internationale, vol. 38, Dec. 2008, pp. 19–35.

Allison, A. “The Japan Fad in Global Youth Culture and Millennial Capitalism.” Mechademia, edited by Frenchy Lunning, vol. 1, University of Minnesota Press, 2006.

Allison, A. “Review of Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World by Theodore Bestor.” Monumenta Nipponica, vol. 60, 2005, pp. 288–90.

Allison, A. “Portable Monsters and Commodity Cuteness: Pokemon as Japan’s New Global Power.” Journal of Postcolonial Studies, edited by Anne Allison and Larry Grossberg, vol. 6, Routlege, Dec. 2003.

Allison, A. “Introduction to Special Issue on Children and Globalization.” Journal of Postcolonial Studies, edited by Anne Allison and Larry Grossberg, vol. 6, Dec. 2003.

Allison, Anne. “Cyborg Violence: Bursting Borders and Bodies with Queer Machines.” Cultural Anthropology, vol. 16, no. 2, Wiley, May 2001, pp. 237–65. Crossref, doi:10.1525/can.2001.16.2.237. Full Text