Noah Johnson, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor

My scholarly work with karate practitioners in the United States of America and Okinawa, Japan examines the complex dynamics of traditions, practices, and discourses in cultural globalization. Building on conceptual approaches and methods from globalization and transnational studies, cultural politics, psychological anthropology, practice theory, and anthropologies of embodiment and performance, I focus on the ways that people in contemporary societies all over the world are recruiting cultural practices and traditions from external (i.e., “foreign”) sources into their locally embedded lives. Most often, these integrations are in response to the very conditions that make such borrowings or appropriations possible: the deep and seemingly all-pervasive transnational connections making up our contemporary world, which some people refer to as “globalization.”

My dissertation is entitled “Striking Distance: Karate as a Global Assemblage and Transnational Cultural Practice,” and I am currently following up on the idea of leisure activities as cultural adaptation to the challenges and stressors of everyday life in our contemporary societies—a self-defense against modernity, so to speak—which I have encountered numerous times in my work with karate practitioners, both here in the United States and abroad.

Courses Taught

  • ANTH:1101 Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH:2165 Native Peoples of North America
  • ANTH:2261 - Human Impacts on the Environment

Research Interests

  • Globalization and Transnationalism
  • Performance and Ritual
  • Practice Theory
  • Leisure Studies
  • Embodiment
  • North America
  • Okinawa

Research areas

  • Sociocultural Anthropology