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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien



Room A, Floor 26, Boissonade Tower
Hosei University
2-17-1 Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo


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Language: English
Admission: Free

Symposium organized by the Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies (GIS), Hosei University and the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ)

The Politics of Energy Transition Post-Fukushima: Anthropological Lessons from Europe and North America

August 6, 2015

It is no secret that the risks of the world’s current reliance on fossil and nuclear fuels are rising as signs of climate change, ocean acidification, environmental toxicity and fuel scarcity mount. At the same time, modern civilization remains entirely dependent on intense use of fuel and electricity to power its conveniences. Energy transition plans are being designed and implemented across the world but they are moving too slowly and often without reexamining assumptions about what constitutes “development” and often driven more by energy industry needs than by community values and objectives. Based upon anthropological research in the United States, Germany and Mexico, and with the aim of inviting discussion on Japan’s own energy politics post-Fukushima and pre-2020 Olympics, the speakers will discuss different models of energy transition in North America and Europe today and why some have succeeded whereas others have failed. The lecture will focus above all on the ethical and political considerations of energy transition in a world of differential access to and attitudes about energy.

Opening remarks
Franz Waldenberger, German Institute for Japanese Studies

Speaker Profiles 

Dominic Boyer is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University and Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS,, the world’s first research center designed to bring the arts, humanities and social sciences directly into debates over today’s energy and environmental challenges.

Cymene Howe is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rice University. She is the author of Intimate Activism (Duke University Press, 2013) and her forthcoming book with Cornell University Press is entitled Ecologics: Transitions, Wind and Power, which analyzes renewable energy development in Mexico and explores the overlapping conversations between feminist and queer theory, materialisms, multispecies ethnography, ethics and imaginaries of the future in the Anthropocene.

Atsuro Morita is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Osaka University. He researches technology development in Thailand and is currently co-convening a Japan–Denmark collaborative project titled “Environmental Infrastructures,” funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Casper Bruun Jensen is Visiting Professor at the Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, and Honorary Fellow at Leicester University. He is the author of Ontologies for Developing Things (Sense, 2010) and Monitoring Movements in Development Aid (with Brit Ross Winthereik) (MIT, 2013), and the editor of Deleuzian Intersections: Science, Technology, Anthropology with Kjetil Rödje (Berghahn, 2009). His present work focuses on environmental infrastructures in South-east Asia.

Daniel White is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Media Studies in the Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies, Hosei University. He has conducted research on the global circulation of author Murakami Haruki, the intersections of soft power administration and national cultural policy in Japan, and the ethics and affects of public broadcasting.




18:00 –
Doors open

18:30 –
Opening remarks by Franz Waldenberger, Director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies

20:00 – 20:30

Related Research Projects

Risks and Opportunities - Japan's Challenges in the Face of an Increasingly Uncertain Future