Research Fellow in Sociology
Human Social and Political Science (HSPS)
Murray Edwards is a vibrant, convivial, and intellectually stimulating environment for students and academics alike. I am delighted and honoured to be welcomed into the Fellowship.
Degrees and Honours
BA, MPhil, PhD (all Cantab)
Political sociology; cultural sociology; memory studies; social theory; sociology of religion; contemporary East Asia
I am a sociologist interested in how culture, memory, religion, and knowledge intersect. I am currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge and a Research Fellow in Sociology at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge. I am also the Review Editor for the International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society.
My latest research focuses on the historical development and transformation of Japanese nationalist movements over the past three decades to the present day and how the right-wing have commemorated Japan’s colonial and wartime actions. The project aims to map out connections between neo-nationalist public intellectuals, religious organisations, political parties, and activist groups inside and outside Japan using social network analysis. Theoretically, I am informed by political sociology, cultural sociology, memory studies, and social movements.
I am also currently working on a monograph, provisionally titled Contested commemoration: memory struggles of the Aum Affair in contemporary Japan 1994-2018. The Aum Affair was a series of crimes committed by new religious movement Aum Shinrikyō (abbreviated as ‘Aum’) between 1988 and 1995, which culminated in the gassing of the Tokyo subway using sarin in March 1995. Using qualitative methods including media analysis, interviews, and participant observation, this book analyses the social responses and commemoration of the Aum Affair from the first terrorist attack in 1994 to the executions of the culprits in July 2018. The book is based on researching findings from my PhD, which I completed at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge in 2017.
My publications have appeared in Theory and Society, American Journal of Cultural Sociology, and International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society.
More broadly, I research and teach in areas of social theory, sociology of culture/cultural sociology, memory studies, sociology of religion (particularly New Religious Movements and Japanese religions).
Ushiyama, R. (2019) ‘Latency through uncertainty: the 1994 Matsumoto Sarin Incident as a delayed cultural trauma’. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 32(1): 21-41. DOI: 10.1007/s10767-018-9282-1
Ushiyama, R. and Patrick Baert. (2016) ‘Cultural trauma, counter-narratives and dialogical intellectuals: the works of Murakami Haruki and Mori Tatsuya in the context of the Aum Affair’. Theory and Society 45(6): 471–499. DOI: 10.1007/s11186-016-9279-6
Ushiyama, R. (2014) ‘Richard Dawkins as a public intellectual after The God Delusion: a British study’. American Journal of Cultural Sociology 2(3): 300-326. DOI: 10.1057/ajcs.2014.7