Marilyn Ivy

Marilyn Ivy

Research Interests

Research Concentrations

Photography, Aesthetics and Politics, The Nuclear, Ecocriticism, Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis


East Asia; Japan


Marilyn Ivy's research has focused on issues of modernity and late modernity, cultural ideology, nativist ethnology, religion, and performance, with particular emphasis on Japan. This research culminated in her book, Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan, which sought to show how superseded forms of practice and life on the margins were appropriated to serve as exemplars of unbroken Japanese tradition in the postwar period. She has since written extensively on media, photography, performance, and politics. Recent work and teaching has focused on aesthetics, politics, and an ecocriticism of the nuclear, as she has engaged with Japanese (and non Japanese) artists, art critics, photographers, poets, performers, and scholars to form a collectively critical relationship with the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe and the triple disaster of March 11, 2011.


Cornell University, PhD in Anthropology, 1988
Cornell University, MA in Anthropology, 1982
University of Hawaii, MA in History
, 1979
University of Oklahoma, BA in Asian Studies, 1975

2016. "InterCommunication: Archiving Media Theory in Japan." In Media Theory in Japan, edited by Mark Steinberg and Alexander Zahlten, 101-127. Durham: Duke University Press.

2015. "The End of the Line: Tōhoku in the Photographic Imagination." In In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11, edited by Anne E. Havinga and Anne Nishimura Morse, 180-195. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

2010. "The Art of Cute Little Things: Nara Yoshitomo's Parapolitics." In Fanthropologies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

2009. "Dark Enlightenment: Naitō Masatoshi's Flash." In Photographies East: Histories of the Camera in East and Southeast Asia, edited by Rosalind Morris, 229-257. Durham: Duke University Press.

2008. "Benedict's Shame." Cabinet 31: 64-68.  

2008b. "Trauma's Two Times: Japanese Wars and Postwars." Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 16, no. 1: 153-176.

1996. "Tracking the Mystery Man with the 21 Faces." Critical Inquiry 23: 11-36.
1995. Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Courses Taught

Selected Publications