Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Getting Animals to Talk about Disaster: The Fiction of the 2011 Disasters of Northeast Japan

Fri, February 15, 2019 | Meyerson Conference Room (WCH 4.118), UT Austin Campus

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Getting Animals to Talk about Disaster:  The Fiction of the 2011 Disasters of Northeast Japan

Non-human animals have appeared with surprising frequency in Japanese fiction following the triple disasters—earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown—of March 11, 2011. I focus on two vectors in that fiction: the representation of non-human animals, and the representation of disaster. One motivator for the experimental activity of writers may be because the fictional representation of animals gets at some of the basic issues in writing fiction, issues that have been thrown into relief in the attempts to write after 3.11, issues that push the boundaries of what is representable, or should be attempted in representation. Can one represent animal interiorities? Can one capture the reality of disaster? This presentation focuses on a number of post-3.11 works that is concerned with what the animals seem to know—that something profound has changed their landscape—and what they do not know—what that something is.

Sponsored by: Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc. Endowment and Center for East Asian Studies

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