vivian shaw                                                                                              


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profile @ UT-Austin Sociology

vivian shaw is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin and a Visiting Scholar at Sophia University (Tokyo). Her research interests are in the areas of race & ethnicity and gender, focusing especially on these issues in science/technology, culture, and human rights. Her dissertation, “Post-disaster Citizenship: The Politics of Race, Belonging, and Activism after Fukushima,” is an ethnographic study tracing the parallel rise of xenophobic hate speech and anti-racism collective action in the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 disaster. Vivian's dissertation research is funded by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowship, the latter of which is a joint award with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).

Her essay, “‘We Are Already Living Together’: Race, Collective Struggle, and the Reimagined Nation in Post-3/11 Japan” is forthcoming in 2017 in Precarious Belongings Affect and Nationalism in Asia, published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Vivian is a Graduate Fellow in the Urban Ethnography Lab, a group of faculty and graduate students involved with ethnographic and qualitative research. She is also a researcher for The Digital Edge, a Connected Learning Research Network project led by Dr. S. Craig Watkins that is funded by the MacArthur Foundation. She is also completing graduate portfolios in Women's and Gender Studies and in Asian American Studies. She currently serves as the Student Representative for the Section on Human Rights for the American Sociological Association.

In 2012, Vivian received her M.A. in Sociology from UT-Austin. Prior to her time in Texas, she attended New York University and worked  in maternal-child health policy and program administration at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

When she is not researching, she is often looking for spots to eat bagels and hang out with cats.

research projects

Copyright Vivian Shaw 2017

“Post-disaster Citizenship: The Politics of Race, Belonging, and Activism after Fukushima”  (PhD Dissertation, in progress)

How do disasters influence the politics of citizenship and race? What do racial tensions look like in countries that are popularly understood as racially, ethnically, and socially homogenous? In my dissertation, I trace the pathways by which post-Fukushima mobilizations eventually led to a nationwide movement against hate speech in 2013. In my analysis of these findings, I propose the concept of “post-disaster citizenship” in order to describe how widespread instability resulting from disasters can provoke racial tensions. My study comprises of twenty-four months of fieldwork between 2014 and 2017 in Kantō (Tokyo, Kawasaki, Saitama) and West Japan (Osaka, Kyoto, Kōbe).

“Atomic Memory: Theorizing Post-racial Memory and Trauma in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum” (MA Thesis, 2012)

Drawing from interview data, spatial analysis, and critical theories of race and memory, this project focuses on Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to analyze the transnational conflicts that must be negotiated within institutional efforts to memorialize the atomic bombings. In this study, I argue that the atomic bombings and their cultural representations provide an important case for tracing the global roots of contemporary post-racial ideologies.

The Digital Edge, Connected Learning Research Network

This collaborative ethnography was conducted with a team of researchers in Austin, Texas over three years. In this study, we followed students at a Central Texas High School and their families to investigate how conditions of social inequality. In our research, we found that such structures of marginality simultaneously constrained students’ opportunities to capitalize on the “promises” of digital technology while also motivating innovative practices of resistance against these very barriers.

Our findings are forthcoming in 2017 in The Digital Edge: The Evolving World of Social, Educational, and Digital Inequality, published by New York University Press.

Read my blog post: “Life after the Digital Club: Minority Students navigating their Creative Ambitions.”