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Tomonori Sugimoto

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Tomonori Sugimoto

Dissertation Writer
Research Interests: 
Colonialism and postcolonialism, race and ethnicity, indigeneity, historical anthropology, and cultural studies


I am a PhD candidate in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at Stanford University and currently finishing my doctoral dissertation, entitled "Unexpected Sovereignty: Indigenous Claim-Making in Urban Taiwan". This work is based on my ethnographic research since 2014 with a community of urbanized indigenous Pangcah/Amis people in the Taipei region. It is set in a public housing project to which their squatter community was relocated. This study shows how people in this relocated community continue to assert spatial and political sovereignty as yuanzhumin (indigenous people), despite this violent and colonial relocation. It argues that indigenous sovereignty arises in unexpected moments and sites in everyday life--when they assert their permanent right to stay in the relocated site, when they use urban space and the street around their housing for socializing, and when they reclaim urban land they were forced out of to engage in foraging, gardening, and hunting. This research has been funded by NSF, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Toyota Foundation.

My next project will address the predicament of Ainu indigeneity in Hokkaido, Japan, in the context of rising nationalism, racism, and backlash against indigenous sovereignty.