Cultural Studies Adjunct: Michael Dylan Foster
I am an assistant professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. My research focuses on folklore, literature, film and popular culture, primarily in Japan. My recent book, Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai (University of California Press, 2009), traces how notions of the supernatural and monstrous are articulated both in academic discourses and popular practices from the seventeenth century through the present. In this work I focus on the "supernatural" to explore representations of the weird (both corporeal and otherwise), the transcendence of normative classification systems, and the many modes by which humans attempt to articulate the inexpressible.
Currently I am working on a new project, titled Visiting Strangers: Tourists, Ethnographers, and Gods, in which I explore the relationship of tourism, ethnography and festival/ritual in Japan.
At the graduate level, I teach courses on Japanese folkloristics, ethnographic writing about East Asia, and tourism with a particular focus on questions of authenticity and nostalgia.