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Border Crossing Activism in the Asian Anthropocene

Sun, June 26, 3:00 to 4:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: BF, 003

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


This panel examines how environmental and animal activisms move across borders in the Asian context. We engage debates in the literature on the Anthropocene, especially given that these debates have been late to Asian Studies (JAS, Volume 73, 2014). We explore how ecological activisms do not only oppose industrial or nuclear development, but also reveal new affective dimensions for ecological care and hope. We also seek to challenge a certain Eurocentrism in debates about the Anthropocene, which often expand, as Morrison (2015) has stated, European historical experiences, frameworks, and chronologies onto the rest of the world. To explore these issues, we move between nuclear disaster, radiated citizens, Pandas exchanged as gifts, Buddhist ecological spiritualism, and the politics of redress for Hiroshima. Jonathan Watts examines the activities of the Interreligious Climate and Ecology Network after Fukushima 3/11. Yuan-chih Lung demonstrates how the gift of a Panda from the Mainland to Taiwan generated new practices of care for endangered animals in Taiwan. Jeffrey Nicolaisen examines how Buddhist ways of animal and environmental protection in Taiwan become engulfed in larger geopolitical struggles between the Mainland and Taiwan, thereby questioning how far an Asian discourse of the Anthropocene can go in the current moment. Kyoko Matsunaga traces the South Korean hibakusha redress movement focusing on writing and activism by the former mayor of Hiroshima, Takashi Hiraoka. Together, the panelists explore the place of Asia in the Anthropocene, where East Asians have been agents of planetary change and among its most tragically wounded victims.

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