Dr Jamie Coates


Jamie Coates joined the University of Sheffield permanently in 2018, having previously worked at Sheffield in 2013-2014 before taking on several Postdoctoral appointments in Japan. Originally from Australia, Jamie received his PhD in Anthropology from the Australian National University in 2013. He has worked in Australia, mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan, having spent most of his young adult life in East Asia. His research expertise is in the anthropology of media and mobility, with regional and language expertise in China and Japan. He has broad thematic interests, including migrant community-building, gender, sexuality, digital media, play, imagination and affect.

  • Jamie was previously co-convenor for the Anthropology and Mobility Network (ANTHROMOB) in the European Association for Social Anthropology (EASA) and is currently a member of their advisory board
  • Jamie’s ethnographic film about young Chinese migrants in Tokyo, titled Tokyo Pengyou was an award nominee for the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) in 2018. It is freely available via the Journal for Anthropological Films

Research interests

Jamie’s research focuses on theorising how media and mobility shape everyday identities, imaginaries and perceptions in Northeast Asia. This focus started from his PhD on transnational Chinese migrants in Japan, which focused on community-building in Tokyo’s unofficial Chinatown, Ikebukuro. Since 2013 Jamie has increasingly focused on how migration and media in the Sino-Japanese context shape young Chinese political and cultural imaginaries.

Jamie was a postdoctoral fellow at Waseda University where he ran a project on the political implications of Chinese migrant media practices funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Social Sciences (JSPS). In his capacity as ANTHROMOB co-convenor he has co-organized workshops on Methodologies of mobility (Oxford 2013), Mobile materialities (Lisbon 2015), Work-Life mobilities (Freiburg 2016) and Media Mobilities (Cologne 2017) funded by EASA, the Volkswagen Foundation and JSPS.

Recently, Jamie has been focusing on how digital and visual methodologies are reshaping debates in migration studies. His current project relates to how digital media and differing forms of play influence young Chinese migrant experiences.

Recent publications:

Coates, J (2019) ‘The Cruel Optimism of Mobility: Aspiration, Belonging, and the “Good Life” among Transnational Chinese Migrants in Tokyo’ Positions: asia critique. 27 (3)