SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Kristin Surak

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Kristin Surak
Department of Politics and International Studies

Research Associate

Dr Kristin Surak


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


Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Paul Kaletsch, The Recent Aftermath of "Unsuccessful" Contemporary East Asian Urban Student Protests?
  • Sirada Khemanitthathai, Emigration State in Transition: Myanmar and the utilisation of emigration as a foreign policy instrument
  • Takako Kawabata, Choice of languages and scripts in the Japanese linguistic landscape (tentative title)


  • 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


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Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
Regional Expertise
Country Expertise
  • Japan


Authored Books

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


Surak, Kristin (2021) 'Millionaire Mobility and the Sale of Citizenship'. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, (47) 1, pp 166-189.

Surak, Kristin (2018) 'MTMJ ―日本らしさと茶道'. MTMJ ―日本らしさと茶道.

Surak, Kristin (2017) 'Rupture and Rhythm: A Phenomenology of National Experiences'. Sociological Theory, (35) 4, pp 312-333.

Surak, Kristin (2017) 'Rupture and Rhythm: Toward a Phenomenology of National Experiences'. Sociological Theory, (35) 4, pp 312-333.

Surak, Kristin (2017) 'At the Margins of Multiculturalism: Assessing Kymlicka’s Liberal Multiculturalism in Japan'. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, (23) 2, pp 227-239.

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

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

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) 'Guestworkers: A Taxonomy'. 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 Chapters

Surak, Kristin (2020) 'Japan: Land of the Rising Right'. In: Vormann, Boris and Weinman, Michael, (eds.), The Emergence of Illiberalism: Understanding a Global Phenomenon. London: Routledge.

Surak, Kristin (2017) 'Engaging Objects: A Phenomenology of the Tea Ceremony and Japaneseness'. In: Zubrzycki, Geneviève, (ed.), National Matters: Materiality, Culture, and Nationalism. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Surak, Kristin (2017) 'The Tea Ceremony Beyond Japan: Postcolonial Cultural Transmission'. Japan im Westen: Literatur – Kultur – Spiritualität. Tübingen: Stauffenburg-Verlag. [Forthcoming]

Surak, Kristin (2017) 'Tea Flows: A Praxeological Perspective on Rituals'. In: Gottwald, Markus and Kirchmann, Kay and Paul, Heike, (eds.), (Extra-)Ordinary Presence: Social Configurations and Cultural Repertoire. Bielefeld: Transkript-Verlag, pp 181-194.

Surak, Kristin (2015) 'Guestworker Regimes Globally: An Historical Comparison'. In: Talani, Leila Simona and McMahon, Simon, (eds.), Handbook of the Political Economy of Migration. Surrey: Edward Elgar.

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.

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.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Surak, Kristin (2019) Shinzo Abe and the rise of Japanese nationalism.


This list was last generated on Saturday, 1st October 2022, 21:16 Europe/London.