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Spring 2020: A Voyage of Discovery
Postdoctoral Fellow

Stephen Johnson

Kyoto University

Stephen Christopher’s first experience outside the USA was as a sophomore student on Semester at Sea (Fall 2003). He credits Semester at Sea with the formative experiences in Asia that shaped his career in anthropology and is excited to have come full circle back onto the ship, from student to professor! In 2018, Stephen completed his Ph.D. in anthropology from Syracuse University, specializing in Himalayan tribal ethnicity and refugee politics. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Kyoto University, where he is working on two book projects: one on casteism within Himalayan tribes and another on transnational Buddhist networks and patronage of Tibetan refugees. He is the Himalayas editor at the Database of Religious History (at the University of British Columbia) and a consultant for iSEE, a Hanoi-based NGO working on the social inclusion of ethnic minorities and LGBTQs in Vietnam.

Stephen is an avid teacher of undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology and South Asian studies. He has taught at Beijing Normal University, Vietnam National University, University of Bremen, Pitt in the Himalayas, and Syracuse University. He has experience teaching multiethnic classrooms across national borders and conveying complex ideas to learners from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. His doctoral research was supported by a Fulbright Grant, an organization with which he maintains close ties. He hopes to inspire students to adopt the mission of Semester at Sea – global understanding for an interdependent world – not only for a semester but as a lifetime pursuit.