Joy Hendry 

Social Anthropologist

Joy Hendry is a social anthropologist, born in Birmingham to a Scottish family, who brought her back to the home country every summer so that she would not forget her heritage. She took a first degree in General Science at Kings College, London, in 1966, travelled and worked in Canada, Mexico and Japan for the next five years, and then took up social anthropology at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford in the 1970s. She taught for many years at Oxford Brookes University, and is now an emeritus professor, but she also held a readership in the Scottish Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of Stirling from 1989-92, when she bought a home in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, where she has spent most summers writing ever since. 

For many years the focus of Joy’s work was Japan and she lived there three times with her family, and has published several books and numerous articles about aspects of marriage, family life and child-rearing in Japan, as well as a best-selling textbook called Understanding Japanese Society, now in its 4th edition. A book about language and indirect communication called Wrapping Culture: Politeness, Presentation and Power in Japan and other Societies was the focus of her attention when she was in Stirling and she spoke about the subject at the National Museum of Scotland. She also founded a global professional organisation called the Japan Anthropology Workshop which celebrated its 30th birthday in Tokyo in 2014, and the Europe Japan Research Centre.

A book about cultural display in World fairs, museums and theme parks entitled The Orient Strikes Back (2000) led to a study of Indigenous Peoples, funded by a generous T H B Symons award for Commonwealth Studies which enabled her to live for 8 months in Canada, and visit many other countries. This culminated in a book called Reclaiming Culture: Indigenous People and Self-Representation, published by Palgrave, New York in 2005. Her Indigenous friends often claim Scottish ancestry, but her most recent study, supported by the University of Melbourne in Australia and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, is entitled Science and Sustainability: Learning from Indigenous Wisdom (also Palgrave, due out September 2014) and seeks recognition for a science that pre-dates the findings of the Scottish Enlightenment that were carried to their lands by those antecedents.

Author of Sharing our Worlds: an Introduction to Social Anthropology, and co-author with Simon Underdown of A Beginners Guide to Anthropology, Joy is now seeking to broaden public interest in her discipline, notably at pre-university level and she has appeared in many BBC radio programmes.

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