Fellows & Grantees

Karen Nakamura

Abe Fellowship 2003
Project Title
The Reformulation and Expansion of Disability Politics in Japan and the United States
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award)
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Macalester College


Karen Nakamura is a cultural and visual anthropologist at UC Berkeley who does research on disability, sexuality, and other minority social movements. In 2006, she published Deaf in Japan: Signing and the Politics of Identity, an ethnography of sign language and deaf social movements in contemporary Japan. Her second project on psychiatric disabilities and community based recovery in contemporary Japan resulted in two ethnographic films and a book titled, A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan (2014). Her books, films, and articles have resulted in numerous prizes including the John Whitney Hall Book Prize, the SVA Short Film Award, and David Plath Media Award. She is currently working on the intersections of sexuality, disability, and eugenics.