Panel at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, 2020

Recent scholarship on the environmental crisis in Japan has proposed looking at ongoing pollution events as "Death Worlds" wherein everyday life is defined by the uncertainty and precarity of ongoing poisoning events. This panel takes this as its starting point to focus on the history of environmental disruption and environmentalism in Japan during the pollution crisis of the 1950s and 1970s (the time frame is flexible) to ask how various death worlds were the site for the development of activist theory. The panel will explore two interrelated thematics. First, panelists will consider the different ways in which individuals and organizations represented the environment and environmental activism through textual and visual forms. Second, panelists will explore how environmental disruption (pollution, etc.) provided an entry into political activism for many without prior activist experience. In our discussion, we will think about how the crisis of environmental disruption opened new spaces for participation in activism (rural citizens, scientists, etc.) and how expanded participation invited new ways of imagining humanity's relationship to the environment. 

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • envisioning workers and every day life in industrial towns
  • visual representations of pollution and its impact on the environment and/or human bodies
  • depictions of the roles of technology and the environment 

Please send a 250 word abstract, paper title, and CV to Kevin Richardson [email protected] by July 30, 2019. Interested participants are encouraged to send inquiries to Kevin Richardson (Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA) and Kelly McCormick (Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA) at the above email address.