Michael J. Ioannides

Graduate Student


Sociocultural anthropology

  • Indigenous peoples
  • Cultural revitalization
  • Environmental justice
  • Political economy
  • Infrastructure
  • Settler colonialism
  • Japan (modern)


MA (Anthropology) UCSB 2020

MA (Applied Anthropology) Oregon State University 2018

BA (Anthropology) University of Chicago 2010


I was born and raised in central Illinois, and spent my formative years in the city of Chicago. I moved to the west coast in 2015 to pursue graduate studies in Anthropology. I currently live in Goleta, CA with my partner and our two cats. When not working on my research, I enjoy playing the saxophone and clarinet and listening to classic Jamaican records on vinyl.


My current dissertation research project is an ethnographic study of Indigenous Ainu-led environmental NGOs in and around the dam-impacted village of Nibutani in Ainu Mosir, perhaps better known today as the island of Hokkaidō, Japan. I examine the intersection between environmental restoration work, anti-dam activism, and Ainu cultural revitalization, as situated in the context of a dam-impacted Indigenous community. I conduct a historical materialist analysis of the political economy of infrastructure and public works construction in the context of contemporary Japan’s so-called “construction state” (J: doken kokka), with an explicit emphasis on how the construction state concept relates to Japan’s settler colonialism in Ainu Mosir. I combine this theoretical approach with a critical, Indigenous, anti-capitalist, and environmental justice-oriented methodological sensibility. 


UCSB Environmental Justice/Climate Justice Hub: https://ejcj.orfaleacenter.ucsb.edu


2019. “Hydro and Nuclear Power: Causes and Consequences.” Panel discussant, Re-Centering Energy Justice: A Mellon Sawyer Seminar Symposium, Santa Barbara, CA. May 9-10,  2019.

2019. Ioannides, M. 2019, March 3. Colonization, Statemaking, and Development: A Political Ecology of the Saru River Development Project, Hokkaido, Japan. Paper Presented at the American Indian and Indigenous Collective Symposium, Santa Barbara, CA. March 1-March 3, 2019.

2018. Ioannides, M. 2018. “Review of Upstream: Trust Lands and Power on the Feather River, by Beth Rose Middleton Manning.” Journal of Political Ecology 25(1). https://goo.gl/vdCVxC

2017. Ioannides, M., Tilt, B. 2017. China: Lessons Learned from the Manwan
Dam. Geneva: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. https://goo.gl/xVRBNk.                     

2017. Walicki, N., Ioannides, M., and Tilt, B. 2017. Dams and Internal Displacement: An Introduction. Geneva: Internal Displacement Monitoring Center. https://goo.gl/xVRBNk.

2017. Ioannides, M. 2017, May 12. Colonization, Statemaking, and Development: A Political Ecology of Dam Construction in Northern Japan. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Oregon State University School of Language, Culture and Society, Corvallis, OR. May 12, 2017.

2017. Ioannides, M. & Tilt, B. 2017, March 31. Status Update on the Oregon State University Dam Impacts Database. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Santa Fe, NM. March 29-April 1, 2017.


ANTH 2: Introductory Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 3: Introductory Archaeology
EACS 14: Environment and Power in Japan