Ryo Morimoto is an assistant professor of anthropology at Princeton University. Prior to Princeton, he was a postdoctoral fellow and the project manager of the Japan Disaster Archive at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. Morimoto holds a PhD in Anthropology from Brandeis University based on ethnographically driven research in Fukushima after the 2011 nuclear disaster. in. In 2020-2021, he will be a fellow in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study. Morimoto is a first-generation scholar from Kurashiki city, Japan.


Research Interests

Ryo Moromoto's work traces the processes of radioactive world-making through the material, technoscientific, political, cultural transmutations and local and planetary flows of natural elements like uranium, artificial radioisotopes, nuclear bombs, radiation-emitting medical devices, nuclear energy, and nuclear waste.

Morimoto has created the Nuclear Princeton Project to work with underrepresented groups of Princeton undergraduates, particularly Indigenous students, to look at the under-acknowledged impacts of nuclear science, technology, and engineering on Native lands, communities, and beyond. It will include exploring Princeton’s past and present engagements with nuclear science and policy – including looking at the history and role of SGS – and initiating dialogues between students, scholars and Indigenous community members on nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, medicine, nuclear waste siting, environmental contamination, climate crisis, and the history of academic complacency in systematic racism. It also will include preparing an open-course syllabus on these issues.


R. Morimoto, Nuclear Ghost: Atomic Livelihood in Fukushima’s Gray Zone, in Preparation.

R. Morimoto, “From Nuclear Things to Things Nuclear: Minding the Gap at the Knowledge-Policy-Practice Nexus in Post-Fallout Fukushima,” in Susanne Hoffman and Roberto Barrios (eds.), Disaster Upon Disaster Exploring the Gap between Disaster Knowledge and What Enters Policy and Practice, pp. 218-240, Berghahn Books, 2020.

R. Morimoto, “Radioactive Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists,” Book Review: The Gender Politics of Food Contamination after Fukushima by Aya Kimura, Monumenta Nipponica, 72, 2: 361-368, 2017.

R. Morimoto, “Interpretative Frameworks of Disaster in Society Close Up,” in Andrew E. Collins, Samantha Jones, Bernard S. Manyena, and Janaka Jayawickrama (eds.), Natural Hazards, Risks, and Disasters in Society: A Cross-Disciplinary Overview, Elsevier’s Hazards and Disasters Series, pp. 323-351, 2015.

R. Morimoto, “The Cult(ure) of the Second Sun: Remembering, Repeating, and Performing the Past Imperfect,” Semiotic Inquiry, Special Issue: Semiotics in Anthropology Today, 32, pp. 161-186, 2012.

R. Morimoto, “Non-Contaminable Stuff: Reorganizing Cultural Memories through the 3.11 Disaster,” Anthropology News October Issue, American Anthropological Association, 2012.


Nuclear Things and Toxic Colonization (ANT 446, ENV 364). How do global engagements with nuclear things affect latent colonization in contemporary and future ecologies and generations? How are toxic effects of nuclear things (re)presented through scientific, technological, political or cultural intervention? We explore material, technoscientific, and cultural transmutations of nuclear things (radioisotopes, bombs, medical devices, energy, waste) and the work of (re)making those transmutations (in)visible. The course draws from a variety of theoretical frameworks / case studies in science and technology studies, the social sciences, art and environmental humanities to think with nuclear things. Offered: Spring 2020.