Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien nav lang search
Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Event Series

DIJ online talk on Minakata Kumagusu, Queer Nature, and the Microbial Paradigm

© private

This talk in the DIJ Environmental Humanities in East Asia lecture series considers the role of non-humans in the intellectual history of modern Japan through the case study of the Buddhist naturalist-polymath Minakata Kumagusu. Building on Kumagusu’s fascination over the microbe slime mold, Eiko Honda delineates the ways in which a parallel paradigm of interdisciplinary knowledge production emerges when the historian places microbes as the basis for the historical actor’s truths (‘queer nature’). The paper reveals a novel account of civilization theory and evolutionism that eventually formulated what she calls the ‘microbial paradigm’ that existed in history, but not in historiography. The talk reflects on what’s at stake when one does or does not decentre the focal point of knowledge production in history, and what kind of implications it may have on present-day research and teaching in area studies. Details and registration here

Eiko Honda, Aarhus University