Alyssa Paredes


Alyssa Paredes is a PhD student in Anthropology at Yale University in the United States of America. Originally from Manila, Philippines, she holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology and in East Asian Studies from the University of Virginia. In 2011, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct independent fieldwork among crafting communities in Japan. While pursuing her personal training in ceramics, she completed a comparative ethnographic analysis of two pottery villages called Koishiwara and Onta. The project explored how a complex web of ecological constraints, a host of National Intangible Cultural Property Laws, and the connection with Japan’s folkcraft idealism movement exerted inhibiting forces on the villages’ social and material landscape. As a PhD student at Yale University, she aims to focus on Fair Trade artisanal production and its role in global development. She plans to explore this in an inter-Asian context, particularly between Japan and Southeast Asia. Through this project, she intends to address a spectrum of issues, including: (1) the role of craft commodities as mediums of communication in symbolic and economic exchange, (2) the global divisions of labor between the “Global North and South”, and (3) the rising social currency of alternative economies centered on rhetoric of the authenticity and honesty of handwork.