Anthropocene Lessons from Japanese History


Location: Zoom webinar

Thomas Square

Earth history and human history have converged in the Anthropocene, but scientists and historians rarely work together. This talk describes Thomas’ recent experiences working with geologists and Earth System scientists. After defining "Anthropocene," Thomas will discuss how history--particularly the history of early modern Japan--might provide clues for building more resilient societies, ones based not on modernity’s promises of freedom and growth but on more modest hopes for sustainability with decency.   

Julia Thomas grew up in the coal country of southwest Virginia. Her sharp interest in environmental questions comes from her love of those mountains. As an intellectual historian of Japan, Thomas writes about concepts of nature and the Anthropocene, political thought, historiography, and photography as a political practice.

Her publications include Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology (winner of the AHA John K. Fairbank Prize), Japan at Nature's Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power, and Rethinking Historical Distance.

Thomas is Associate Professor of History at Notre Dame. Please register here for this online event.

Sponsored by the Liu Center for Asian Studies.