Tomo Sugimoto is currently completing his PhD in sociocultural anthropology at Stanford University. He is an ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellow for the academic year 2018-2019.
His dissertation, "Claiming Taipei's Land, Nature, and Housing: Indigeneity and the State in a Settler Colonial City," asks: As more and more indigenous subjects settle in urban areas, how do their political claims change? Based on ethnographic research in urban Taiwan--a settler colonial society dominated by the Han Chinese but with 2% of its population recognized as indigenous--this dissertation suggests that new forms of indigenous politics and indigenous-state relations are emerging in the wake of the massive urbanization of indigenous Austronesian people in Taiwan. The project examines why and how urbanized indigenous Pangcah/Amis people from eastern Taiwan continue to make claims for indigenous sovereignty in urban settings with which they have no indigenous ties; how their claims take shape through interactions with urban environments like abandoned hillside land, riverbanks, and public housing infrastructure; and how such claims are negotiated between indigenous subjects and the Han Chinese-dominated settler state. It argues that vibrant urban indigenous claim-making is forcing the settler state to rethink what indigenous belonging, rights, and entitlements can be conceived today and in the future.
His work has been published in both English and Chinese in journals such as Settler Colonial Studies, Gastronomica: Journal of Critical Food Studies, City & Society, and Yuanshijie.
He received his MA in anthropology from UC San Diego in 2013 and his BA in social science from the University of Tokyo in 2011. His research has been funded by the Heiwa Nakajima Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Toyota Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies/the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.