November 26, 2018/ 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Charles E. Young Research Library Presentation Room

The Tragedy before the Blood Commons: Tetsuro Araki, the Crisis in the Humanity, and Animated Education

Colloquium with Professor William Bridges, University of Rochester

This talk takes the work of anime director Araki Tetsuro—in which, among other catastrophes, gargantuan titans devour students for sport, zombie apocalypses overrun public schools, and promising pupils are transformed into gods of death—as an occasion for discussion of the crisis in the humanities. Araki’s oeuvre is composed of metaphors for what might be called a crisis in the humanity, or the cultural logic that underpins the crisis in the humanities; Araki also animates what might be called the tragedy before the blood commons, or the short-circuiting of any capacity to imagine sharing the commons in a time of crisis. This talk explores possible responses to the twin crises in the humanity and humanities by reading the implications of Araki’s animation of the classroom in times of crisis.


About the Speaker

William Bridges's research and teaching—which has been recognized by the Fulbright Program, the Japan Foundation, the Association for Asian Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities—is underpinned by a fairly straightforward question: what is the relationship between storytelling and identity, or: in what way is fiction an object of the humanities—one that tells us who we were, who we are, and who we might become? His intellectual home is at the intersection of modern Japanese literature, African American literature, and comparative literature. Bridges is particularly interested in studies of the “Black Pacific,” which consider the ebb and flow of black people, thought, and culture throughout the Pacific. He is currently working on a manuscript entitled Playing in the Shadows: Fictions of Race and Blackness in Postwar Japanese Literature. His previous research—which includes an article on Nobel laureate Oe Kenzaburo’s writing of Afro-Japanese existentialism, an essay on the reception history of Little Black Sambo in Japan, and an edited volume entitled Two Haiku and a Microphone: Traveling Texts and Afro-Japanese Cultural Exchange—has investigated the place of fiction in the construction of racial and ethnic identities. His next research project is The Black Pacific: On the Aesthetics of Racial Existence.

Download file: 11.26.18-BRIDGES-FLYER-sw-lrb.pdf