"Touching the Grass: Citizen Science in Fukushima"

  • 04 Apr 2014
  • 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
  • Kang Room S050, Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, CGIS South Bldg., 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138


Post-Disaster Japan Special Lecture Series

"Touching the Grass: Citizen Science in Fukushima"

Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, Australian National University

Moderator:  Ian J. Miller, Associate Professor of History, Harvard University

Friday, April 4, 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Kang Room S050, Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, CGIS South Bldg., 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138


"In a barn near Fukushima’s exclusion zone, farmers mix organic fertilizers, looking for recipes to protect their crops from radiation. In the back-room of a nearby gift-shop, local volunteers use sophisticated equipment to measure levels of radioactivity in food. The crisis in Fukushima Number One nuclear plant continues to unfold, and science lacks answers to key questions about the disaster’s effects on health. This presentation will examine how Fukushima’s ordinary citizens are taking science into their own hands, and how their response to the crisis relates to the history of ‘citizen science’ and of survival politics in Japan. It will also explore problems of the relationship between academic notions of scientific uncertainty and the daily experience of indeterminacy in post-disaster Japan."

Tessa Morris-Suzuki was born in England and lived and worked in Japan before emigrating to Australia in 1981. She is professor of Japanese history in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University, where her research focuses on Japan's frontiers and minority communities and on questions of historical memory in East Asia.
Her most recent book is To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred Year Journey through China and Korea.

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