Jennifer Robertson is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has a non-budgeted appointment as Professor of Women's Studies and is a faculty associate in the Anthropology/History Program. She is a former director and member of the Center for Japanese Studies, and an associate in the Department of History of Art; Science, Society and Technology Program; and Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies.
She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University in 1985, where she also earned a B.A. in the History of Art in 1975. Robertson was an Invited Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (1996-1997).
Robertson is the originator and General Editor of COLONIALISMS, a new book series from the University of California Press. The COLONIALISMS series of books aims to explore the historical realities, current significance, and future ramifications of imperialist practices with origins and boundaries outside of "the West," including transnational corporations and cyberspace. Authors in the series emphasize the cultural, practical, experiential, affective, and aesthetic strategies of imperialist agendas and colonialist projects. The series also hopes to stimulate the development of theories and methodologies that may disrupt the all too easy binaries of East and West, North and South, colonizer and colonized.
Her six books and dozens of articles and chapters address a wide spectrum of subjects ranging from the 17th century to the present, including nativist and social rectification movements, agrarianism, sex and gender systems and ideologies, mass and popular culture, nostalgia and internationalization, urbanism, the place of Japan in American Anthropology, sexuality and suicide, theater and performance, votive and folk art, imperialism and colonialism, and eugenics and bioethics. Her publications have been translated into German, Finnish, French, and Japanese. She offers graduate and undergraduate courses on anthropology's history, theories and methods; non-western colonialisms; art and image-based ethnography; the politics and practice of ethnography; mass and popular culture; genes, genealogies and identities; ethnic diversity in Japan; sex, gender and sexuality in Japan; and Japanese culture and society, among others.
Robertson is currently writing and editing articles and books on the cultural history of Japanese colonialism; eugenics, bioethics, and ideologies of "blood" in Japan and Israel; the genre of war art; and humanoid robots and cyberculture in Japan and elsewhere. Although her primary area specialty is Japan, where she has lived for nearly two decades, Robertson has also worked in Sri Lanka (1982-1992) and since 1997 has been working in Israel as well.