Dear Friends -

I am very pleased to announce that starting January 1, 2016, I will be starting a new position at the University of California Berkeley as the Robert and Colleen Haas Distinguished Chair in Disability Studies and Professor of Anthropology. While housed in the Department of Anthropology, I am being hired as part of a larger initiative known as the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, which represents a major commitment on the part of the University of California to address questions of social justice, inclusion, and equity. Becoming the Haas Chair in Disability Studies allows me to focus my attention on issues of disability from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective.

As part of bringing me to campus, Berkeley has also made a major commitment to building a makerspace/lab in central campus focused on disability, access, and design. I plan for it to be a central hub for an interdisciplinary disability studies that will draw from the social and physical sciences, engineering, arts, humanities, and design worlds. I hope that it will bring faculty, students, and community members together to work on not only solutions for the continuing problems of inclusion and access for disabled people but also to collaborate on the positive expressive and creative aspects of the disability experience. It also serves as the ideal springboard for my next major research project which involves robotic, prosthetic, and augmentative technologies in the context of disability and aging in Japan and the United States.

Both my partner, Hisako, and I feel a very strong commitment to issues of social justice and inclusion and so we are thrilled at the opportunity to become members of a public institution where that is a fundamental part of its DNA. We look forward to your ongoing support in this new chapter of our lives.


Karen Nakamura
November 4, 2015

[Photo caption: Karen Nakamura with her psychiatric service dog, Momosuke]

Media articles related to my move: