Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Kristin Surak

Key information



Kristin Surak joined the London School of Economics in 2020 from SOAS University of London where she was a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) of Japanese Politics. Her research on international migration, nationalism, and political sociology has been translated into a half-dozen languages.

In addition to publishing in major academic and intellectual journals, she also writes regularly for popular outlets, including the London Review of Books, New Statesman, New Left Review, and Washington Post. She is the author of Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice (Stanford University Press 2013), which received the Book of the Year Award from the American Sociological Association’s Asian Section.

She has been a Richard B. Fischer Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Fung Global Fellow at Princeton University, Sainsbury Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute for Japanese Arts and Cultures, and a Visiting Professor at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and she is a Lifetime Fellow of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. The American Academy of Political and Social Science has recognized her scholarship, which has been funded by the German Science Foundation, Japan Foundation, Fulbright-Hays Foundation, and Leverhulme Foundation, among others.

She comments regularly for global media outlets, including the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Channel News Asia TV, and Sky TV News. Her book Citizenship 4 Sale: Millionaires, Microstates, and Mobility will be published by Harvard University Press in 2021.

Research interests

  • Nationalism and ethnicity
  • Japanese immigration policy
  • Labor migration in East Asia
  • Guestwork programs around the world
  • Symbolic politics of nation-formation
  • Investment migration and citizenship by investment programs
  • Phenomenology of embodied practices

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Takako Kawabata Choice of languages and scripts in the Japanese linguistic landscape (tentative title)
Sirada Khemanitthathai Emigration State in Transition: Myanmar and the utilisation of emigration as a foreign policy instrument