Dr Akira Shah

Postdoctoral Affiliate


Akira received his Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2023. Prior to this, he was awarded distinction classifications for Master of Research (MRes) Anthropology, and Master of Arts (MA) Japanese Studies degrees by UCL and SOAS. Born in the UK, Akira's upbringing contains a transnational assemblage of socio-cultural influences, ranging from Japan and Guyana to Canada and India.

Current Research

Akira's postdoctoral research expands on a doctoral thesis titled International Baccalaureate Teacher Training in Japanese Higher Education: An Ethnography of Internationalist & Globalist Agendas. Contextualized in the rise of IB education in Japan, he explored how different ideologies, pedagogies, and languages forwarded by various actors – ranging from teachers and policymakers, to governmental and corporate elites – vie for the titles of ‘international’ and ‘global.’

This project's doctoral phase was accomplished through a digital ethnography of IB teacher training at Japanese universities and at the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) during the peak of COVID-19. Akira found these field sites to amplify vastly divergent practices of ‘international’ and ‘global education,’ despite the influence of globally dominant ‘White’ imperialisms and locally prevalent nationalisms. Building off these findings, his postdoctoral fieldwork includes ethnographic research at Japanese IB schools, where he seeks to understand how educators are negotiating this politically complex landscape in everyday life.

Select Research Interests

Globalism, Internationalism, Education, Pedagogy, Ideology, Language, Whiteness, Japaneseness, Minoritization, Transnational Identity, Social Inequity, Digitality

Recent Publication

Shah, Akira. 2023. “Digital Ethnography in COVID-19: Improvisation & Intimacy.” Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford XV: 178-193. ISSN: 2040-1876

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