Akira P. Shah

akira shah web

DPhil Student

St Antony's College

Thesis: Amplifying the Borderlands of ‘International-mindedness’ & ‘Global Human Resource’: A Digital Ethnography of International Baccalaureate Teacher Training in Japanese Higher Education (working title)

Selected Research Interests

Social cohesion, identity, groupism, emic-etic distinction, international & global education, pedagogy & andragogy, social minorities & majorities, digital & analog experience, digital methodology, risk, motorsport, 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 International Baccalaureate (IB) education in Japan. Focused on IB educator training across several higher education institutions (HEIs), I aim – solely through digital anthropological approaches – to contextualize the 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 ‘international’ and ‘global people.’

I have been an Associate Researcher at the Graduate School of Teacher Education, Tokyo Gakugei University since autumn 2020, a post I continue to hold until the end of my doctoral degree.

Previous Education & Research

I most recently attained a Master of Research (M.Res.) degree in Anthropology at University College London (UCL), and prior to that, a Master of Arts (M.A.) 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 identity construction, maintenance, and negotiation of certain racialized & culturalized social minority populations in Japan.


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. Past careers include work as a freelance performance psychology coach for racing drivers across several motor-sporting disciplines in both the UK and Japan, and as a teaching assistant and counselor at a UK-based IB international school. Future career plans include further anthropological research and establishing my own consultancy services dedicated to various inclusion-based development initiatives.

akira.shah [at] anthro.ox.ac.uk