Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Dr Dolores P Martinez

Key information

Department of Anthropology and Sociology Emeritus Reader Centre for Global Media and Communications Associate Member, Centre for Media and Film Studies Academic Staff, Japan Research Centre Member Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies Member
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address

Research interests

My current research involves exploring the relationship between the Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa, and modern western film directors. The impetus for the research began in an attempt to turn on its head the Orientalist premise that ‘Japan is a society that copies’ by exploring the variety of ways in which Hollywood as a part of US society has copied from Japan. This research has led me towards an analysis of how local and global filmmaking constitute each other.

The role Kurosawa has played in not only setting a technical standard, which other filmmakers have hoped to achieve or surpass, but also in writing narratives that have been incorporated into other films is the subject of a book I am planning to complete in the next few months. The research for the book has allowed me to consider a wide range of theory relating to the human capacity for creating narratives and translating them, as well as giving me an excuse to watch films with titles like Battle Beyond the Stars; Run, Lola, Run, and The Killing!

My first research was with Japanese diving women (ama, women who dive for shellfish and seaweed) and fishermen in Mie Prefecture. Kuzaki, the village in which I worked, still functioned as a sacred guild (kambe) for Ise Shrine, the most sacred Shinto Shrine in Japan. This combination of occupation and religious life required me to begin thinking about religion in Japan as well as the broader context of religion in modern societies; while also considering the importance of age and gender in organising religious events and village life.

Kuzaki was part of the domestic tourism boom that was important in 1980s Japan, and for several years I wrote about and taught the anthropology of tourism. A short spell of working for a television production company while writing the DPhil thesis led me back to my first area of interest: the mass media.

Subsequent periods in Japan have been spent working on various aspects of Japanese popular culture. I am beginning to think about new research, perhaps on the ways in which different societies depict the future.


Contact Dolores