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Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Kristin Surak



Kristin Surak
Department of Politics and International Studies

Research Methods Convenor

Dr Kristin Surak
Email address:
+44 (0) 20-7898-4749
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
On Sabbatical:


Kristin Surak is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Japanese Politics at SOAS, University of London who specializes in international migration, nationalism, culture, and political sociology.  In 2015-16, she will be a member of Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Her book Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice appeared with Stanford University Press in 2013, and received the Outstanding Book Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Asia. She has published in numerous academic and intellectual journals, including the European Journal of Sociology, International Migration Review, Merkur, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Lettre International, and the New Left Review, and her work has been translated into Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, and German. For her scholarship, she has received awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Fulbright-Hays Foundation, Japan Foundation, European University Institute, Frankfurt University, University of California Board of Regents, and the Sainsbury Foundation, among others.  Before joining SOAS, she taught at UCLA and at the University of Duisburg-Essen. She comments regularly for the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera, and Radio France International. Currently, her research compares migration regimes and temporary migrant labor programs in East Asia and across the globe.  


  • Nationalism and ethnicity
  • Japanese immigration policy
  • Labor migration in East Asia
  • Guestwork programs around the world
  • Symbolic politics of nation-formation


Authored Books

Surak, Kristin (2013) Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Book Chapters

Surak, Kristin (2012) 'Migration Industries and Developmental States in East Asia.' In: Gammeltoft-Hansen, Thomas and Nyberg Sorensen, Ninna, (eds.), The Migration Industry and the Commercialization of International Migration. London: Routledge, pp. 89-110.

Surak, Kristin (2011) 'Making Tea Japanese.' In: Cox, Rupert and Brumann, Christoph, (eds.), Making Japanese Heritage. London: Routledge, pp. 21-30.

Surak, Kristin 'Engaging Objects: A Phenomenology of the Tea Ceremony and Japaneseness.' In: National Matters: Materiality, Culture, and Nationalism. Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Forthcoming)

Surak, Kristin 'Guestworkers Globally.' In: Handbook of the Political Economy of Migration. Surrey: Edward Elgar. (Forthcoming)

Surak, Kristin 'Tea Flows: A Praxeological Perspective on Rituals.' In: (Extra-)Ordinary Presence: Social Configurations and Cultural Repertoire. Bielefeld: Transkript-Verlag. (Forthcoming)

Surak, Kristin 'The Tea Ceremony Beyond Japan: Postcolonial Cultural Transmission.' In: Japan im Westen: Literatur – Kultur – Spiritualität. Tübingen: Stauffenburg-Verlag. (Forthcoming)


Surak, Kristin (2014) 'Re-Selling Japan.' New Left Review (99). pp. 139-149.

Surak, Kristin (2014) 'Gastarbeiter: Una Taxonomía.' NLR Secunda Época (84). pp. 94-114.

Surak, Kristin (2014) 'お茶の専門家から文化の専門家へ―家元制度の成立」[From Tea Specialists to Culture Specialists: The Formation of the Iemoto System].' Wochikochi .

Surak, Kristin (2014) 'Culture, Nation, and the Tea Ceremony.' Center for Comparative Japanese Studies Annual Bulletin (10). pp. 133-137.

Surak, Kristin (2013) 'Guestworker Regimes: A Taxonomy.' The New Left Review (84). pp. 84-102.

Surak, Kristin (2013) 'Die Gastarbeiter.' Merkur: Zeitschrift für europäisches Denken (9/10). pp. 1024-1035.

Surak, Kristin (2012) 'Nation-Work: A Praxeology of Making and Maintaining Nations.' European Journal of Sociology, 53 (2). pp. 171-204.

Surak, Kristin (2012) 'Die Ethniztätsindustrie.' Lettre International (97). pp. 114-118.

Surak, Kristin (2011) 'From Selling Tea to Selling Japaneseness: Symbolic Power and the Nationalization of Cultural Practices.' European Journal of Sociology, 52 (2). pp. 175-208.

Surak, Kristin (2010) 'The Business of Belonging.' The New Left Review (63). pp. 151-159.

Surak, Kristin (2010) 'Family Reunification in Europe and East Asia.' EUI Review (4). pp. 17-18.

Surak, Kristin (2010) 'El Negocio de la Pertenencia.' NLR Secunda Época (63). pp. 149-158.

Surak, Kristin (2008) 'Convergence in Foreigners' Rights and Citizenship Policy? A Look at Japan.' International Migration Review, 42 (3). pp. 550-575.

Surak, Kristin (2007) '"Ethnic Practices" in Translation: Tea in Japan and the US.' Ethnic and Racial Studies, 29 (5). pp. 828-855.

Book Reviews

Surak, Kristin (2011) 'Review of "Japanese Women, Class, and the Tea Ceremony: The Voices of Tea Practitioners in Northern Japan".' Pacific Affairs, 84 (3). pp. 580-581.

Surak, Kristin (2010) 'Review of "Diaspora Without Homeland: Being Korean in Japan".' Pacific Affairs, 83 (4). pp. 797-798.

This list was generated on Tue Dec 1 00:33:11 2015 GMT.