Julie Valk



I am a social anthropologist with research interests in Japanese society and culture, economic anthropology, clothing, fashion, textile and material culture. My PhD (Anthropology, University of Oxford 2018) focused on the kimono retail industry in Japan, and the challenges faced by this industry as it struggles in the face of ongoing recession and declining sales. I have had the fortune of working with dozens of craftspeople, retailers and wholesalers during my fieldwork in 2015-2016, and I am an experienced qualitative researcher.

I have taught social anthropology and Japan-focused courses at the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes, and I am currently an ESRC post-doctoral researcher at University College London, working on a book about the kimono retail industry.



Book review: ‘Costume in Performance: Materiality, Culture, and the Body by Donatella Barbieri’ in Visual Anthropology Review 35(1): 115-117


‘From Duty to Fashion: The Changing Role of the Kimono in the Twenty-First Century’ in Fashion Theory 22(3): 309-340


‘The “Kimono Wednesday” Protests: Identity Politics and How the Kimono Became More Than Japanese’ in Asian Ethnology 74(2): 379–399




ESRC post-doctoral researcher
University College London

October 2019 to October 2020

As an ESRC post-doctoral researcher, I am building on the results of my DPhil in anthropology, publishing journal articles, setting up a research group on clothing at UCL, attending conferences and writing a book on the kimono retail industry in Japan.

Lecturer in the Anthropology of Japan
Oxford Brookes University

September 2018 to June 2019 (fixed term)

As a Lecturer in the Anthropology of Japan, I was module Leader for two modules: ‘Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture’ and ‘Japan at Play’, and additional teaching on two modules: ‘Introduction to Social Anthropology’ and ‘Minorities and Marginality in Japan’. Additionally I also supervised eight undergraduate dissertations.

DPhil student

University of Oxford

October 2014 to November 2018

I conducted twelve months of anthropological fieldwork with craftspeople, retailers and wholesalers in the kimono retail industry, as well as writers, bloggers and members of government, in order to produce an investigation into the current state of the kimono retail industry, culminating in my thesis 'Survival or Success? The Kimono Retail Industry in Contemporary Japan'.

Co-teacher on the Japanese Society option paper
University of Oxford

January to June 2017

Teaching on this course involved lecturing, seminar style teaching and the moderation of student presentations as well as tutorial teaching and giving students detailed feedback on their essays. This course covered topics as varies as minorities, popular culture, art, religion, education and gender to name a few.

College Tutor in Anthropology

Hertford College, University of Oxford

April to June 2018

April to June 2017

I have delivered two full courses of tutorial teaching at Hertford College in 2017 and 2018 for first year students on the course ‘Introduction to Anthropological Theory’, providing comprehensive and supportive feedback on essays as well as stimulating my students to think critically and preparing them fully for their exams.

Coordinator for International Relations

Kanazawa, Japan

July 2012 to July 2014

Specifically assigned to facilitating sister city relations between Kanazawa and Nancy in France, I spearheaded a number of collaborative projects and brokered agreements for exchanges with a view to strengthening intercultural ties between the two cities.



Japan-related teaching

At Oxford Brookes University, I taught three Japan-related modules: 'Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture', 'Minorities and Marginality in Japan' and 'Japan at Play'. These courses involved a breadth of topics and themes, from introductory topics such as the family to specialised topics such as contemporary Japanese popular culture and the question of race, ethnicity and marginality in Japan.

At the University of Oxford, I co-taught the 'Japanese Society' option course with Professor Roger Goodman. This course, aimed at both undergraduates and graduates, examined themes as broad as law, art, popular culture, economic life, family life, gender and sexuality in Japan.

Social Anthropology

At Oxford Brookes University, I taught on the ‘Introduction to Social Anthropology’ course for 1st year undergraduates, on the topics of economic anthropology, ritual, kinship and gender. I gave lectures to classes of over a hundred students, marked essay papers and moderated student-led seminar presentations.

As a DPhil student at the University of Oxford, I regularly taught 1st year social anthropology tutorials at Hertford College in addition to 2nd year tutorials at St Peter's College, covering kinship, gender, personhood, religion, material culture, and exchange.


Get in Touch

14 Taviton Street
Department of Anthropology
University College London
London WC1H 0BW


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