Akira Shah

akira shah web

DPhil Student

St Antony's College

Selected Research Interests

Social cohesion, identity, glocalization, international education, educator training, pedagogy, organizational culture, social inequality, social minorities, play, risk, motorsport, digital methodology, Japan/Asia-pacific

DPhil Research

I am a DPhil Candidate in Anthropology affiliated with the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, and associated with both the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and Department of Education. My doctoral research rests with the concepts of ‘international’ and ‘global education,’ and is grounded in the recent emergence and growth of the International Baccalaureate (IB) in Japan. Focused on IB educator training across a number of higher education institutions, I aim – solely through digital anthropological approaches – to contextualize everyday negotiations of international and global knowledge, both by those receiving and administering its training. Considering social, political, economic and cognitive aspects, one key objective of this research hopes to inform educational practitioners and policy-makers of some of the conceptual and social challenges that emerge with dissonant notions of cultivating ‘global’ and ‘international people.’

I am currently an Associate Researcher at the Graduate School of Teacher Education, Tokyo Gakugei University, a post I continue to hold throughout my fieldwork period. At present, I also fulfill a number of parallel roles, including working as an assistant for IB Educator Certificate (IBEC) consultants at the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), and as a Guest Lecturer at the College of Education, Psychology and Human Studies, Aoyama Gakuin University.

This research has received funding from the Japan Foundation Endowment Committee.

Previous Education & Research

Most recently, I attained a Master of Research (MRes) degree in Anthropology at University College London (UCL), and previous to that, a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Japanese Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), both with distinction. Recent research includes a socio-cognitive anthropological examination over the construction, maintenance, and re-negotiation of racialized, and culturalized social minority populations in Japan, and the pervasive, yet often ambiguous binarized distinctions between the ideas of the ‘foreign’ and ‘native.’

Career and Volunteer Work

Concurrent to my present research endeavours, I am an Anthropological Analyst for Contemplative Spaces, a consultancy focused on designing and delivering a range of leadership development initiatives for individuals, groups and organizational bodies. Recent work includes assisting in delivering Appreciative Inquiry (AI) programmes – which seek to systematically engage all stakeholders into executing positive, self-motivated change – to organizations such as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Past careers include work as a freelance performance psychology coach for racing drivers across a number of disciplines in both Japan and the UK (e.g., from competitive go-karting, to GT and Formula Three), and as a Teaching Assistant and counselor at a UK-based IB international school. In the past I have worked to promote the work of mental health charities such as the UK-based YoungMinds, and continue to support a number of inclusivity initiatives to help improve social and institutional equality.

akira.shah [at] anthro.ox.ac.uk
akira10 [at] u-gakugei.ac.jp