Graduate students and faculty are invited to participate in an Environmental Humanities Initiative Colloquium on Friday, October 13 from 10:30 am to 12 pm in 112 Folwell Hall.
The theme of the colloquium will be keywords. Participants should be prepared to:
- share an operative term from their research
- explain its importance to the environmental humanities
- contextualize the term in their own research
- share a core work (article, chapter, book, etc.) that utilizes the keyword
After sharing our keywords (~5 minutes per participant), we will consider how they productively relate, overlap, and shape the EHI’s mission moving forward. Keywords and resources will be compiled and shared with participants.
Please join us for an Environmental Humanities Initiative graduate student meeting on Friday, September 29th from 10-11 a.m. in 113 Folwell Hall. We will be sharing some updates on what the EHI has planned this year, including a grad student workshop in October. We will also discussing first steps for the EHI’s blog and social media presence, as well as any other ideas you might have to share (e.g. we talked about starting a reading group or shared bibliography last spring).
The Reality of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Nuclear Incident: Disaster, Refuge, and Isolation
In her talk, Ms. Tomisawa will discuss what happened to the residents of Futaba in the aftermath of the tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, addressing how the residents were informed of the plant meltdown and the subsequent evacuation. She will describe how the chaos following a forced evacuation was made worse with the secondary blows of discrimination against survivors and food shortages. She will also discuss how people continue to survive the forced evacuation still in effect and what is happening not only to human beings, but to the animals left behind in restricted areas, and the current needs in her hometown.
Ms. Tomisawa has eleven years of experience brewing premium sake (rice wine) and shochu (distilled rice spirits) for her nearly 300-year-old family business, which was destroyed in the triple catastrophe of March 11, 2011. She is preparing to re-establish the brewery next year in Seattle, Washington.
Geoffrey Hoefer will discuss case studies tracing the journey across the Pacific of a variety of belongings washed away by the 2011 Japan Tsunami that turned up in the U.S. and Canada, the stories of those who found these belongings, and the impact on their owners when they were returned.
Mr. Hoefer is the founder and Chairman of the Omomuki Foundation, a non-profit organization funding visual and performing arts, and HIV- and AIDS-related health initiatives. He is on the International Advisory Board of the Portland Japanese Garden, one of the largest Japanese cultural institutes in North America, and also serves as an Advisor to the Japanese non-profit WIT in promoting economic development of the Tohoku region in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami. He was a founding member of GeoHazards International, a non-profit specializing in reducing risk from natural hazards in developing countries, with an emphasis on earthquakes and tsunamis.
The Rasa Island in Okinawa, once bustling with phosphate mining, is now a deserted island used for the US fleet target practice. The Iwami Mine, long closed due to the depletion of silver, just became a UNESCO World Heritage Site this summer. These two contrasting mining sites in Japan tell fascinating stories of how ecological discourse started to intersect with heritage making and how a post-industrial society remembers industrialisation.
Hiromi Mizuno is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Minnesota. She is currently writing a book, The Age of Nitrogen: Agricultural Modernization and Japan and has recently finished co-editing a forthcoming book, Engineering Asia: Technology, Colonial Development, and the Cold War Order.
Jonathan Damery will be defending his MFA Thesis, "Plainlands: How to See Nothing." Drinks and snacks will be provided.
This interactive discussion with Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and Elder Carlie Towne of the Gullah/Geechee Angel Network will focus on the components of cultural continuation that are often left out of the discussions of sustainability and adaptation. The traditional knowledge and collective consciousness of the Gullah/Geechee and how they are incorporating this in methods to protect tangible resources and their cultural heritage for future generations will be central to the dialogue.
Professor and Chair of English at the University of Toronto, Dr. Bewell will argue that colonial natural history is best understood as a translational activity, which made natures accessible, comparable, and exchangable by recasting them in new mobilized forms. By seeing colonial natures as products of translation, we can begin to recognize what was gained and lost through this encompassing activity. This topic will be examined with reference to Audubon's Birds of America and Keats's Lamia. Dr. Bewell this year published Natures in Translation: Romanticism and Colonial Natural History (Johns Hopkins University Press). Presented by the 18th- and 19th-Century Subfield and the Zabel fund of the Department of English.
Examining a range of short films, this workshop explores how industry-produced documentaries from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s depict the materiality of petroleum and its by-products. Whether the wavering psychedelic shimmer of an oil slick on water, the abyss of blackness in a puddle of crude, or the antics of a four-armed anthropomorphic animated character representing a molecule of gasoline, these films manifest a surprising ambivalence about the precise nature of the twentieth’s century’s most infamous fuel. Looking at the qualities made visible by these films is essential for understanding the political nature of a petroleum-based economy and cultures of the years of supposed post-war plenitude in the North Atlantic—i.e, the US, Canada, and Western Europe. In the images of these films, a fascinating set of formal relationships manifest an ambivalence around the materiality of petroleum and surface tensions fester that would be otherwise unavailable in the official discourses of “big oil”.
Even after the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, popular discourse on nuclear energy was positive. Why did this positive image of the nuclear reign despite the catastrophic experiences of 1945? This talk explores this paradox with a new perspective that challenges the conventional victim narrative of Japan to show how scientists, media, and the public were all involved in the production of the “atomic utopia.”
Dr. Maika Nakao is a visiting scholar at Columbia University and senior researcher at Ritsumeikan University