Predavanje Marka J. Hudsona: Azija in Antropocen

Predavanje, ki ga organizira Oddelek za azijske in afriške študije Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani, bo jutri, 13. marca 2014, ob 13.50 v predavalnici 030 na Filozofski fakulteti (Aškerčeva 2, Ljubljana). Predavanje bo potekalo v angleškem jeziku.

Mark J. Hudson je profesor antropologije na Univerzi Nishikyushu na Japonskem in član skupine "History Working Group" na Centru za ainujske in avtohtone študije Univerze na Hokkaidu. Je avtor knjige Ruins of identity: Ethnogenesis in the Japanese Islands, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1400 (1995).

Več informacij o predavanju v nadaljevanju.


Asia and the Anthropocene

Mark J. Hudson

The term "Anthropocene" has been proposed as a label for the era in which human

domination of the earth's ecosystems has turned humanity into a geological process.

Particularly in its more recent historical manifestations, the Anthropocene also

represents a crisis of sustainability, a period formed through human activities that have

already exceeded what scientists have called the "safe operating limits for humanity".

The concepts of the Anthropocene and the global ecological crisis might seem the final

nails in the coffin of Asian Studies, a field of area studies that developed for largely

geopolitical reasons that had little to do with ecology and the environment. Yet this

paper will argue that the Anthropocene gives a new edge to the study of Asia. Three

main aspects of this argument will be examined.

The first is the question of how Asia fits into scenarios of future sustainability

and resource conflicts. Some scholars of the Anthropocene place its beginnings in the

Great Acceleration after 1945. Some Asian nations, such as Japan and Korea, are

already beginning to de-accelerate, but other, very large countries, especially China and

India, still have their feet flat down on the accelerator pedal. As examples of current

resource conflicts, the paper will discuss overseas land grabs for farming, an area in

which Asia is both victim and aggressor, as well as recent interest in the Arctic by Asian

countries such as Japan and Korea.

While the first topic considered here essentially assumes that the

Anthropocene has yet to really take off in Asia, the second makes the opposite

assumption. Some researchers, especially in archaeology and geography, have proposed

that the Anthropocene did not begin in 1945 or even in in 1780, but has a much longer

history as part of human modification of landscapes and living environments. This

argument has even been made for Japan where large-scale agricultural systems

developed much later than in neighboring China. Although the end of the eighteenth

century is widely seen as the beginning of large-scale fossil fuel usage, coal had been

used in China since the Song. Attempts to date the Anthropocene in Asia prior to 1800,

and thus prior to European colonialism, are interesting because they show that Asia was

not a stagnant backwater region awaiting Western modernization but had always been

part of a basic global process of human ecosystem domination.


Finally, the paper will discuss the role of Asia and Asian Studies in debates

over sustainability, past, present and future. From Thoreau to Snyder, Asia has long

played an important role in the environmental imagination, especially in the United

States. Many Asian scholars have themselves taken up these ideas, as for example in the

work of Japanese geographer and environmental archaeologist Yasuda Yoshinori. This

section will discuss both ideas about Asia and environmentalism and also the actual

historical evidence for social-ecological resilience in Asia, using the Japanese Islands as

a case study.