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

Senior Lecturer in Japanese Politics

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:
Academic Support Hours:
Term 2: Thursdays, 12-2pm


Kristin Surak is a Senior Lecturer in Japanese Politics at SOAS, University of London and a Fung Global Fellow at Princeton University. Her research on international migration, nationalism, and political sociologyhas appeared in leading academic and intellectual journals and has been translated into a half-dozen languages. She also publishes in popular outlets, including the London Review of Books, New Left Review, and the Washington Post. Her book Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice (Stanford University Press 2013) received the Book of the Year Award from the American Sociological Association’s Asian Section. 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 has been an invited fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; Clare Hall, Cambridge University; and the European University Institute.  She comments regularly for the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Channel News Asia TV, and Sky TV News.Her current research investigates the origins and spread of investment migration programs and the global interdependencies that have advanced them.


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)

Courses previously taught:

Japan Unravelled

Going Global: An Introduction to International Migration

Comparative Political Sociology of Asia and Africa

Nationalism, Ethnicity, and the State in Asia and Africa

Introduction to Research Methods (MPhil)

Research Project Seminar (MPhil)

International Migration and Diaspora Politics


  • 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


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email

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 (2020) 'Millionaire Mobility and the Sale of Citizenship'. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. [Forthcoming]

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) '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) '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 (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) 'Tea Flows: A Praxeological Perspective on Rituals'. (Extra-)Ordinary Presence: Social Configurations and Cultural Repertoire. Bielefeld: Transkript-Verlag, pp 181-194.

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

Surak, Kristin (2015) 'Guestworker Regimes Globally: An Historical Comparison'. 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 Friday, 7th August 2020, 16:16 Europe/London.