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Envisioning the Future In, Through, and Against “Japan”: Interdisciplinary and Heterolingual Approach to Hope

Sun, June 26, 3:00 to 4:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 119

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


With its nuclear pollution, high suicide rate, shrinking population, rise of right-wing nationalism, colonial legacies, and anti-immigration sentiments, Japan may not be the first place people think of when they hear the word “hope.” This panel, however, takes a somewhat paradoxical approach and proposes that hope may be envisioned with sharper contours precisely in its loss or scarcity. As hope is inseparable from our experience of time in general and the future in particular, the papers will reflect on the future as a key theme by discussing a wide range of pressing issues that the nation faces today. In doing so, they will also reexamine “Japan” in varying registers: “in,” “through,” and “against.” Envisioning the future “in” Japan indicates the primary geographical concentration of the panel; “through” Japan signifies the role of the site as an analytical lens to tackle broader, comparative, and more universal questions; some papers will speak “against” Japan by questioning the stability of national subject as well as the primacy of ethno-national belonging.
The panel members are trained in literature, religious studies, and anthropology, based in institutions in Korea, China, Japan, and the US, and write in multiple languages. The topics of constituent papers include the future of nuclear disaster recovery, connection between colonial legacy and disaster management, shifting views on happiness, religion and the future, and transnationality of hope through a case study of hikikomori. With this interdisciplinary and heterolingual framework, the panel will take a multilayered and holistic approach to the future of “Japan.”

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