October 16, 2020/ 10:00 AM

Russia / Japan: Residues, Materialities, Environments: Trans-disciplinary Exchanges

When the burgeoning field of the Environmental Humanities has addressed Russia and Japan together, it has almost exclusively been in connection with nuclear disasters and post-apocalyptic scenarios, with comparative studies of the Chernobyl and the Fukushima accidents (see the works of Kate Brown and Adriana Petryna, among others). Our symposium seeks to explore and expand the connections between those two cultures in their relationship with, understanding and articulation of environmental questions besides and beyond the last three decades and issues of nuclear energy. We are convening a group of leading literary and media scholars of Japan and of Russia and the Soviet Union of different generations to promote exchange and generate new avenues of inquiry into natural catastrophe, food studies, sound studies, ocean studies, and the inescapable embeddedness of human organisms and human activity within the earth, nature, value systems, and the distribution of knowledge.

The event is sponsored by a David Gardner '69 Magic Grant from the Council of the Humanities, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and the Department of East Asian Studies.

Register in advance for the Friday meeting:

https://princeton.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYtcO2orjkuGtzIPPHofjQ8wXclQe8rDpjD(link is external)

Register in advance for the Saturday meeting:

https://princeton.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJckdO2vrzIvH9JREx9nk2b8tTntm041Dwn7(link is external)

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


1:00 PM (EDT)

Informal introductions + Opening remarks

1:30 PM

Panel 1 -- Media and Materialities

Jane Costlow (Bates College), "Arrivederci, Arctic: Marina Moskvina and the Cape Farewell Project."

Craig Campbell (University of Texas, Austin), “Flow & Form: Concrete as Elemental Media.“

Julia Alekseyeva (University of Pennsylvania), "Thinking Soviet: Dziga Vertov in the 1960s Japanese Political Avant-Garde."

Jenifer Presto (University of Oregon), "Afterglow: Nabokov, Pompeii, and the Atomic Age."

4:00 PM

Keynote Address

Margherita Long (UC Irvine), "Biopolitical Critique Meets Growling Woman: Tsushima Yūko."


12:00 PM (EDT)

Panel 2 -- Micro/Macro: Environments and Epistemologies

Jon Pitt (UC Irvine), "The Entangled Histories of Abe Kōbō, Kliment Timiryazev, and The Life of the Plant.”

Tom Newlin (Oberlin College), "Worlds within Worlds: Ecology and Microscopy in Nineteenth-Century Russia."

Sumiko Hatakeyama (University of Pennsylvania), "Residual Radiation: A People-Centered Approach to Radiation Studies."
Alec Brookes (Memorial University, Newfoundland), "Encountering the microbial: Reading Zamyatin's We in Zoonotic Times."

3:00 PM

Panel 3 --Metabolism: Bodies, Energy, Waste

Colleen McQuillen (University of Southern California), “Entropy and Exhaustion in Russian Narratives of Donbass Metalworks at the Fin-de-siècle.”

Elena Fratto (Princeton University), "Metabolic Modernities: Bodily Functions and Energy Transformation in Early Soviet Science Fiction and Children's Literature."

Eiko Maruko Siniawer (Williams College),"Unsettling Waste in 1970s Japan."

4:30-5:30 PM

Final discussion and closing remarks