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In this lecture, Marran offers an analysis of island chains in the work of famed author of industrial pollution, Ishimure Michiko, beginning with the question of how best to address specific island-sea cosmologies in relation to the broader archipelago of “Japan.” Showing synchronicities between Ishimure and Édouard Glissant’s poetics regarding archipelagoes, Marran demonstrates how Ishimure’s philosophy explicitly decenters humanistic approaches to island-chains to forward a planetary commons that rejects geopolitical and ethnic identities as primary modes of belonging. Foregrounded will be a new materialist analysis that uses the concept of the biotrope to analyze the intersection of biological and cultural formations. 

This is the inaugural event in the Center's Environmental Humanities Speaker Series.

Speaker Profile
Christine Marran specializes in the fields of environmental humanities, critical theory, and gender studies. She is Professor of Japanese Literature and Cultural Studies in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Co-Convener of the Environmental Humanities Initiative at the University of Minnesota. She currently is a Visiting Professor at Yale University. Through a new materialist approach, Marran’s work addresses how those in area studies can more deliberately contend with the more-than-human world in this age of rising seas. Her analyses of animal life, archipelagoes and climate in narrative and moving images offer strategies for reading and interpreting more-than-human elements in the work of activist-writers and filmmakers in the Japanese archipelago. Selected works by Marran include Ecology Without Culture: Aesthetics for a Toxic Age (monograph); “Planetarity” in boundary 2; “Literature Without Us,” in Ishimure Michiko’s Writing in Ecocritical Perspective: Between Sea and Sky; and “Animal Stranger in a Tokyo Canal” in Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power

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