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Laura Spielvogel

Laura Spielvogel
Professor and Undergraduate Advisor

Office: (269) 387-4140

1021 Moore Hall

Mailing address
Department of Anthropology
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5306

Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, Yale University, 1998

Research interests
Gender and the body, sport and leisure, identity

Regional focus: Japan

Laura Ginsberg Spielvogel works on issues of gender, popular culture, and globalization in contemporary Japan and with notions of identity and community that define cultures in the United States. In her book, “Working Out in Japan: Shaping the Female Body in Tokyo Fitness Clubs” (Duke University Press, 2003), she takes the Japanese fitness club as the institutional lens through which to view the symbolic construction of the female body, intersections between local and global interpretations of health and sport, and the changing complexions of work and leisure in late-capitalist Japan. She has also published articles in The Journal of Sport and Social Issues and The Sociology of Sport and has had her work featured in the Harvard Magazine. She is currently working on two related projects that explore identity, gender, stereotyping, and cultural relativism. In her first project, she is creating a web-based, role-playing educational simulation where students play characters engaged in a Japanese-American wedding. After a successful pilot during Fall 2006 in the Honor's College, she revised the simulation during her sabbatical leave. In her second project, she is writing an ethnographic novel that also explores the challenges of a Japanese-American courtship and marriage.