Ryo Morimoto

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Office Phone
132 Aaron Burr Hall
  • Ph.D. Brandeis University, Anthropology

Through his ethnographic research, Morimoto aims to create a space for and language to think about nuclear things and other contaminants as part and parcel of what it means to live in the late industrial and post-fallout era, rather than as alien species that must and should be held at a distance from humans. Morimoto is currently working on a book project, tentatively titled The Nuclear Ghost: Atomic Livelihood in Fukushima’s Gray Zone. This book integrates environmental anthropology, recent Japanese history, and science and technology studies to understand the uses and applications of technologies in social processes whereby certain sensory-cognitive experiences are (im)materialized. Morimoto uses the term “nuclear ghost” to analyze the struggles of representing and experiencing low-dose radiation exposure in coastal Fukushima, where individual, social, political and scientific determinations of the threshold of exposure are often inconsistent. Against the government’s reliance on technoscientific measurements to regiment what it means to be exposed, his ethnography explores local experiences of radiation exposure, as well as situated ways of knowing and living with nuclear things in people’s shifting relationships with contaminated others such as wildlife, plants, and foodstuffs.

Before joining Anthropology, Ryo was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Reischauer Institute of Japan Studies at Harvard University, where he also served as the project manager of the Japan Disaster Digital Archive (jdarchive.org).