In the disruption caused by any disaster, there is always the possibility of new forms of political engagement. Out of chaos can come anger and sometimes new forms of action around the recognition of grievances that have become more obvious. In the best of possible cases, actors form new alliances and collective goals, as well as strategies to reach those goals. Under these conditions, “recovery” can take ambiguous meanings because recovery often means a return to an older state of affairs, the state of affairs that led to the disaster in the first place, and maybe even the suppression of these new politics. Showing video clips from the largest collection of digital video narratives of the 2011 triple disasters in northern Japan (Voices from Tohoku), Professor Slater will point to the important intersection between politics and recovery in two ways as experienced by women in the area. First, he will look at the top-down efforts by the Japanese state to “manage” the immediate recovery period (the politics of recovery) and then later on, the way in which different groups of Japanese women sought to recover some sense of political agency as raw emotions of 2011 faded into the 10-year anniversary of the disaster (the recovery of politics).
Biography: David H. Slater is a professor of cultural anthropology at Sophia University, Tokyo. His research interests include capitalism, youth, labor, semiotics, and urban space. Recently, his work has focused on the 3.11 Tohoku disasters. He is archiver and curator of Voices from Tohoku: Digital Archive of Disaster, Recovery and Mobilization, the largest collection of digital oral narratives of the 3.11 triple disasters ( https://tohokukaranokoe.org/).
This event presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.