Shiho Satsuka

Shiho Satsuka

Shiho Satsuka, Ph.D. (University of California, Santa Cruz, 2004)
Associate Professor, St. George Campus

(416) 978-7787
Office: AP 236

Research Keywords: politics of knowledge, cultural translation, nature, science, environment, capitalism, work, subjectivity, tourism, translocal interactions, popular culture, gender

Research Region: Japan, Canada, USA

Research Bio

Shiho Satsuka’s research concerns the politics of knowledge, discourses of nature and science, and cultural practices of capitalism. She is interested in how divergent understandings of nature are produced, circulated, contested and transformed in translocal interactions shaped by the global expansion of capitalism. Her first book, Nature in Translation: Freedom, Subjectivity and Japanese Tourism Encounters in Canada, analyzes the way Japanese tour guides translate ecological knowledge in national parks in the Canadian Rockies. The book examines how the guides’ translation of nature is related to the construction of their subjectivity, both as transnational flexible workers and as embodiments of Japanese cosmopolitan desire. She is currently working on her second book project examining the social role of scientists in the emerging global scientific and commercial networks associated with matsutake, a highly valued wild mushroom. In particular, she focuses on satoyama movements that aim to revitalize the traditional agrarian forests that produce matsutake, the politics of translation between expert science and other forms of knowledge, and the emerging discourses of “new commons” that envision alternative social and human-nonhuman relations. This research is also part of a collaborative, multi-sited ethnographic project, “Matsutake Worlds”. She was a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Germany in 2012.


2015.  Nature in Translation: Freedom, Subjectivity, and Japanese Tourism Encounters in Canada. Duke University Press.

2014        Hospitality and Detachment: Japanese Tour Guides’ Affective Labor in Canada. In J. Yang (Ed) The Political Economy of Affect and Emotion in East Asia. Routledge.

2012        Matsutake Worlds (co-authored with Timothy Choy, Lieba Fair, Michael Hathaway, Miyako Inoue & Anna Tsing). A New Form of Collaboration in Cultural Anthropology: Matsutake Worlds (Reprint from American Ethnologist 2009, 36(2): 380-403). In A. Robben and J. Sluka (Eds) Ethnographic Fieldwork: A Reader. 2nd Ed. John Wiley & Sons Limited.

2011        Eating Others Well/ Eating Well with Others. Kroeber Anthropological Society Journal, the Special 100th Issue: 134-138.

2009        Matsutake Worlds (co-authored with Timothy Choy, Lieba Fair, Michael Hathaway, Miyako Inoue & Anna Tsing). “Strong Collaboration as a Method for Multi-sited Ethnography: on Mycorrhizal Relations,” In Mark-Anthony Falzon (Ed), Multi-Sited Ethnography. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing. Pp. 197-214.

2009        Populist Cosmopolitanism: the Predicament of Subjectivity and the Japanese Fascination with Overseas. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 10(1): 67-81

2008        Co-authored with Anna Tsing. Diverging Understandings of Forest Management in Matsutake Science. Economic Botany 62(3): 244-256.

Graduate Students

Nicholas Feinig

Dylan Gordon

Antony Zelenka