Paul Hansen




Specially Appointed Associate Professor

Research Keywords

Animal-human-technology studies, cosmopolitan studies, posthumanism, embodiment and affect, Japan and Jamaica


BA/BSc. Political Science and Religious Studies, University of Lethbridge (Ca)
MA Asian Religions, Lancaster University (UK)
PhD Social Anthropology, SOAS: University of London


My doctoral research focused on socio-cultural changes within Hokkaido’s dairy industry. For example, I looked at how forces of globalization, such as the neoliberalization of labor or trade, progressively alter both human and bovine relationships. I also examined how technologies such as pneumatic milking or artificial insemination impact human and non-human connections creating a hyphenated (though by no means flat) animal-human-technology; in essence a co-construction of being and becoming.

Subsequently, I focused on dog-human relationships in urban Japan. In this research I looked at how essential ideas of Japaneseness are altered or questioned with the increasing encroachment of dogs in public and private space, for example via media representations such as otosan or “Kaikun” the Softbank dog, or through a shift to what I coin a “post-familial” Japan. 

My most recent ethnographic research is on Jamaica. However, even though the geographic focus of my research has shifted, many links to my Japanese research remain. As a comparative reference I am interested in small scale dairy and goat farming, but I am also researching how young Japanese come to Jamaica as musical tourists and how some of these Japanese move beyond tourism and seek to start a new life in Jamaica.  

Selected Publications

  • Book Manuscript in process (deadline 2015). Hokkaido Dairy Farm: Change, Otherness and Securing the Frontiers of Japan with Brill Publishers. Series Editor Professor Andrew Cobbing.
  • “Hokkaido’s Frontiers: Blurred Embodiments, Shared Affects and the Evolution of Dairy Farming’s Animal-Human-Machine” in Critique of Anthropology 34 (1) pp. 48-72 (2014).
  • “Urban Japan’s ‘Fuzzy’ New Families: Affect and Embodiment in Dog–Human Relationships” in Asian Anthropology, 12: (2) pp. 83-103 (2013)