Erika R. Alpert received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan in the spring of 2014.  Her primary research interests are in language, gender, and sexuality; especially the question of how language can be used to create and inhabit social realities and new relationships.  Her dissertation explored language, gender, and ideology in the world of Japanese professional matchmakers. These matchmakers do not make matches, in the sense of pairing potential couples together, but instead provide clients with both the social and practical means necessary to meet a potential romantic interest. Her ethnographic work follows matchmakers as they coach their clients from introductory meetings to successful partnership or unsuccessful rejection.
Publications
2014 Stoicism or Shyness?: Japanese Professional Matchmakers and New Masculine Conversational Ideals. Journal of Language and Sexuality 3(2): 191–218.
Selected Presentations:
2013 Making Perfect Matches: The Self  Conscious Semiotics of Japanese Professional Matchmakers.‛ American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.
Carnivores and Herbivores: Playing with Masculine Possibilities in Japan.‛ 20th Annual Lavender Languages and Linguistics Conference, American University.
2011 Modern Matchmaking: Language, Gender, and Arranged Marriage in Contemporary Kansai. Asian Studies Conference Japan, International Christian University.