Dr. Nancy Rosenberger
212 Waldo Hall
Email: Nancy Rosenberger
|Ph.D.||Anthropology, University of Michigan||1984|
|M.A.||Anthropology, University of Michigan||1978|
|M.A.||Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan||1976|
|B.A.||English Literature, College of Wooster||1970|
My research interests focus on gender, the food system, small-scale business, global-local interfaces, and the experience of late modern social change in the context of political-economic forces and socio-cultural experiences for individuals. Geographically, I work in Japan, Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), and Oregon.
My teaching interests are broad: gender and ethnicity; anthropology of food; anthropological theory; ethnographic methods; rural anthropology; ethnographic fieldschool; Asian business and culture; economic anthropology; cultures of Japan and Korea. I have also designed the main Introduction to Cultyural Anthropology course taught in our department. Teaching is very important to me as a way to stimulate students to think critically about important issues.
At the present time, I am involved in several research projects. One centers on women in Tajikistan who work in very small-scale businesses, especially having to do with food, and often part of the informal economy. I interviewed women in various cities in Tajikistan about their motivations and strategies in running these businesses and the impact these businesses had on themselves, their households, and their communities. The research resulted in best practices and barriers to doing business at this level. I became aware of how important the making and/or selling of food is to women as an easy-to-enter business. I am still writing up this material but you can see my initial report at the following website:
My second research project focuses on organic farmers in Japan. This research concerns a group of people, old and young, men and women, who have opted for an alternative lifestyle in Japan that resists the normalized way of industrial agriculture and market consumption in Japan. My research shows the strengths and difficulties of their resistance as individuals/families and as an alternative food movement. I am particularly interested in differences in this group by generation and gender. I collected the data for this research in the first half of 2012, so many farmers were still suffering from the effects of radiation as well as the rumors of radiation in the food that they sell. Despite careful measuring of radiation in their produce, milk, and meat, the farmers in the prefectures near Fukushima where the nuclear reactor melt-downs occured are suffering from the perception that their organic food, which they always thought was the safest food, is not safe!
My third research project is a long-term project in which I am interviewing a group of Japanese women in Tokyo and the Northeast over twenty years. I have a book coming out on this research with University of Hawaii Press entitled Dilemmas of Adulthood: Long-term Resistance among Women in Japan. Filled with the narratives of single women, women married without children, women married/not working/with children, and women married/working/with children, the book develops the idea of what long-term resistance looks like in a late modern society. I explore the feelings and actions of ambivalence and tension in their lives in a context of contradictions in Japanese society.
I continue to look for students in a number of fields: food and agricultural systems, gender, rural issues, small-scale and/or cross-cultural business and marketing concerns, and local/global interrelationships that are embedded in questions of power and resistance. Geographically, I am particularly interested in working with students doing projects in US, Japan, Korea, and Central Asia.