John Ostermiller

Graduate Student
John Ostermiller


Current status: Ph.D. in progress

Ph.D. dissertation title: Between piety and popularity: cultural code-switching and Muslim migrant communities in Japan

M.A. thesis title: Currents of Consumption: How National Narratives of Japanese Cuisine Collide with Localized Forms of Sushi in Northern California.

John Ostermiller is a fourth-year cultural anthropology Ph.D. student focused on how Muslims and Muslim migrants navigate their religious convictions in non-Muslim majority societies. For his dissertation John is investigating how Muslims engage in "cultural code-switching," or how Muslims present religious practices and beliefs as "custom" and "culture" in certain circumstances to appeal to the sensibilities of a non-Muslim majority. John recently completed his qualifying exams and is preparing to submit his prospectus. John has been a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Instructor of Record for the Department of Anthropology, and will be a Graduate Writing Consultant for the University's Writing and Speaking Center for the 2022 - 2023 academic year. His research is supported in part by the Ozmen Institute's Graduate Student Research Grant as well as the Department of Anthropology's Cultural & Linguistic Anthropology Graduate Promise Award.

Academic interests

  • Migrant Muslim communities in Japan
  • Secularism and religion (Islam)
  • Cosmetic multiculturalism and media representation
  • Minorities, migration, and marginalization
  • Japan and the Asia-Pacific region

Selected publications


  • M.A., Asia-Pacific studies, University of San Francisco, 2018
  • B.A., anthropology, California State University Sacramento, 2013