I am Lecturer in Sociology at the School of Social Science, Education, and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast. I joined Queen’s in 2021.
Previously, I was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge (2017-21) and a Research Fellow in Sociology at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge (2018-21). I hold a PhD in Sociology (2017) from Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge.
I’m a cultural and political sociologist interested in the competitive processes surrounding collective memory, commemoration of mass violence, and public representations of the past. My latest research investigates historical denial and far-right nationalism in Japan as well as transnational memory activism across East Asia. I am also currently developing a wider research project based on the Memories in Transit Conference that I co-organised at the University of Cambridge in 2021, exploring memory activism by diasporas and displaced communities.
My primary areas of interest are cultural sociology, political sociology (especially right-wing movements), memory studies, and social theory. I originally started my research career as a sociologist of religion, and I maintain an active interest in sociology of religion, including new religious movements, Japanese religions, and religious nationalism.
My first academic monograph, published by Oxford University Press (British Academy Monographs Series, 2022), is titled Aum Shinrikyo and religious terrorism in Japanese collective memory. This book offers a detailed and multi-perspectival analysis of the long-term social, political, and cultural consequences of Aum Shinrikyō’s violent crimes and terrorist attacks that culminated in the deadly assault on the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995. Described as ‘a definitive account of a famous modern Japanese tragedy’, this book explores how the Aum Affair developed as a ‘cultural trauma’ in Japanese collective memory following the Tokyo attack. Interrogating an array of sources including mass media reports and interviews with victims and ex-members, it reveals the multiple clashing narratives over the causes of Aum’s violence, the efficacy of ‘brainwashing’ and ‘mind control’, and whether capital punishment is justified. It shows that although cultural trauma construction requires the use of moral binaries such as ‘good vs. evil’, ‘pure vs. impure’, and ‘sacred vs. profane’, the entrenchment of such binary codes in commemorative processes can ultimately hinder social repair and reconciliation.
My publications have also appeared in peer-reviewed journals including The British Journal of Sociology, Theory and Society, American Journal of Cultural Sociology, Memory Studies, Journal of Classical Sociology, and International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society.
I am currently a Co-Editor of Cultural Sociology, and the Review Editor for the International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, for which I also serve as an Editorial Board member.