Nuclear Pain and Humanitarian Photography
Morizumi Takashi, the Gulf Wars, and Fukushima
Julia Adeney Thomas, Associate Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
Can photography help us see suffering and end nuclear destruction? Linking three moments of atomic calamity – the Hiroshima atomic bombing, the uranium-tipped weapons in the First Gulf War, and the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown – photographer Morizumi Takashi’s images attempt to find aesthetic leverage against the nuclearization of war and energy. This lecture explores the ethics of sight and how humanitarian efforts are both enabled and circumscribed by the shifting situations in which a photographer works.
Bio: Julia Adeney Thomas has written extensively about concepts of nature in political ideology, the challenge posed by climate change to the discipline of history, and photography as a political practice in Japan and globally. She is the author of several books including Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power (with Ian J. Miller and Brett L. Walker) and Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology, for which she was the recipient of the American Historical Association’s John K. Fairbank Prize. Currently, she is completing The Historian's Task in the Anthropocene, as well as co-editing a collection entitled Visualizing Fascism: The Rise of the Global Right.
Sponsored by the Asian Studies Program, the Dresher Center for the Humanities, the History Department, and the Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts. Funded by a grant from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies.