Associate director of Comparative Media Studies; associate professor, Foreign Languages and Literatures Section
areas of expertise: japan, anime, art, culture, media studies
Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in contemporary Japan with a focus on media, popular culture, and globalization. His first book Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization was published in October 2006 from Duke University Press. It is an ethnography of the Japanese rap music scene, exploring issues of race, gender, language, popular music history, and cultural politics primarily through the perspectives of Japanese musicians. Through fieldwork starting 1995-97, Condry focused on the "genba" (nightclubs, or "actual site") of Japan's hip-hop scene. He argues that the paths of cultural globalization lead through specific sites of performance, such as nightclubs and recording studios. Such locations help us more deeply understand the dialogue between global/local, producer/consumer, artist/industry.
Condry's current research project is The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan's Media Success Story. He is interested in the making of global anime cultures, focusing on the creators in Tokyo studios. January 2006, Condry has been organizing the research project Cool Japan: Media, Culture, Technology at MIT and Harvard. The project involves colloquia and international conferences to examine the cultural connections, dangerous distortions, and critical potential of popular culture. Sponsored by MIT Japan Program, Harvard's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Harvard Asia Center, MIT Foreign Languages and Literatures, and MIT Comparative Media Studies.
Condry earned his BA in government from Harvard in 1987 and a PhD in anthropology from Yale in 1999
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