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Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora

Courtney Sato

Mellon Assistant Professor

Courtney Sato

Mellon Assistant Professor

Fung House, 1st Floor, Room 105
48 Professors Row, Medford, MA

Courtney Sato is Mellon Assistant Professor in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University. Her interdisciplinary research and teaching engages Asian American Studies,  transnational American Studies, intellectual and cultural history, and critical race and gender studies. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. Prior to joining Tufts, Dr. Sato was a Global American Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University.

Dr. Sato’s first book, Pacific Internationalism: Interwar Ideologies at the Crossroads of the Pacific, chronicles Pacific-based internationalist movements that arose in the wake of WWI. For internationalists, the region was attractive given its geographic isolation from the devastation of world war, its racial and cultural demography, and Hawai‘i’s status as a U.S. territory. With Honolulu championed as the new "Geneva of the Pacific," internationalists founded several organizations in Hawai‘i including the Pan-Pacific Union, the Institute of Pacific Relations, and the Pan-Pacific Women’s Association. Pacific internationalism not only marshaled a divergent cadre of reformers, activists, and intellectuals, but deeply reflected and shaped the U.S. settler colonial project in Hawai‘i, Asia, and broader Pacific.

Dr. Sato's commitment to public-facing scholarship informs her work as a public historian and digital humanities scholar. She serves as Co-Principal Investigator and Project Director for the Out of the Desert initiative at Yale University. Supported by a US National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant, the Out of the Desert digital project interprets World War II Japanese American incarceration history for a broad public audience.

PhD, Yale University, American Studies, 2019
MA, MPhil, Yale University, American Studies (with a concentration in Public Humanities), 2015
MPhil, University of Cambridge (Magdalene College), Modern South Asian Studies, 2013
BA, Wellesley College, English, 2009

Asian American Studies; American Studies; 20th-Century US Intellectual & Cultural History; Transnational Feminism; Transpacific Studies; WWII Japanese American Incarceration

Selected Honors and Awards: 
  • 2020: Certificate of Teaching Excellence, Harvard University
  • 2017-2019: Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Project Grant, National Park Service for Out of the Desert
  • 2016: Bordin-Gillette Research Fellowship, Bentley Library, University of Michigan
  • 2016: Yale Center for Race, Indigeneity, & Transnational Migration Research Grant
  • 2015-2016: Mellon Graduate Fellowship in Digital Humanities, Yale University
  • 2013-2015: A. Bartlett Giamatti Fellowship, Yale University
  • 2013: C.A. Bayly Dissertation Prize, University of Cambridge
  • 2011: Fulbright Research Fellowship, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 2009: Thomas J. Watson Fellowship
Selected Publications and Presentations: 

"'A Picture of Peace': International Friendship in Interwar Pacific Women’s Internationalism." Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences 27, no. 2 (2018): 475- 510.

With Randa Tawil, "Race and Ethnicity." The Routledge Global History of Feminism. Edited by Bonnie G. Smith and Nova Robinson. Routledge, forthcoming.

"Book Review: Jane Hong, Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion." Journal of American History, forthcoming December 2021.

Public Scholarship

Curator, Out of the Desert: Resilience and Memory in Japanese American Internment. Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University (2015-2016). Reviewed by the New York Times, December 1, 2015.

Teaching/Courses Taught: 
Fall 2021 Introduction to Asian American Studies / Methods in Studies of Race, Colonialism, & Diaspora (AAST 194 /RCD 150)