Call for Papers: Ecologies of Knowledge and Practice: Japanese Studies and the Environmental Humanities

A Day-and-a-Half Workshop and Roundtable for UK Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers in the Humanities

St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, 27th and 28th October 2017 

Scholars from outside the UK are welcome to apply if they are able to fund their own transportation.

How does research on Japan inform ecological practice that is pertinent beyond the framework of Area Studies, and vice versa? If we were to place nature at the core of our studies of human activities, what new kinds of interdisciplinarity and knowledge would be possible, and how would we reorganize our academic disciplines? This workshop invites individual papers from UK-based Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers within the Humanities for an inter-disciplinary discussion with guidance from established scholars and practitioners.

In today’s world of planetary-scale environmental crises, intellectuals are increasingly urged to cultivate a symbiosis between knowledge and practice and to engage with each other beyond disciplinary divides. Historically, Japan has claimed a uniquely harmonious relationship with nature. Yet this cultural rhetoric of ecology has faced challenges for its apparent discordance with the reality of environmental destruction in Japan.

The field of Japanese Studies outside Japan has also been criticized: on the one hand, for exoticizing Japan as a unique “other”, yet conversely, for forcing Japan into a hegemonic model of universal (Western) modernity. While such ideological controversies are ongoing, the study of Japan in the twenty-first century is becoming increasingly and inescapably intertwined with the rise of global environmental problems such as climate change, nuclear catastrophe, deforestation and threats to marine life. The challenges of Eco-criticism follow hot on the heels of the politics of still-prevailing Orientalism.

In the rapidly changing academic and atmospheric climates of the twenty-first century, the career paths of current graduates and early career researchers are likely to follow very different trajectories to those of our seniors. The workshop seeks to open a dialogue among this emerging generation of Japan scholars in the UK concerning how the production of knowledge of Japan may be linked to new forms of engagement with contemporary ecological concerns. The workshop aims thereby to facilitate crucial professionalization and cohort-building among postgraduates and early career researchers of Japanese Studies in the UK.

We invite proposals for papers of 20 minutes concerning the above issues within Japanese Studies in relation to the Environmental Humanities. For further information, please visit:

Please send abstracts of c. 300 words, together with a brief biography of c. 150 words, to: by 31st August 2017

Supported by the Japan Foundation London, Antonian Fund, and Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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