Human Scales and Subjectivities (TGSW 2015)

Another (and still preliminary) paper on my new material from Vietnam…

Session at the Tsukuba Science Week @ Tsukuba University

Time: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Place: Tsukuba International Congress Center, 3F Conference Room 304
ABSTRACT: How can we assess the ways in which the humans (concerned persons, bystanders, experts, activists, administrators, and politicians) conceptualize the problems of the world? With what apparatuses – words, equipments, machines, bodies, conventions, social organizations, cultural values, symbiotic relations with living things and non-living things – do we conceive of our surrounding world and its difficult situations? (Is our surrounding world singular or plural?) With what temporalities – short-term events, individual life courses, social times, the annual budget cycles, business cycles, nature’s (and perceiving society’s) seasons, various half-lives of radioactive materials, long-term geological and evolutionary times – do we examine the longstanding issues? How can scientists (of different kinds) and anthropologists (of different kinds) constructively challenge each either to think in new ways about the many problems that face humanity? Our session takes up the notion of scales to explore such issues in concrete and in plural terms wherein we follow emerging contours of a problem of common concern. The question about the scales is, in the same instance, the question about the how of subjectivities. Take for instance; an immune system activated within our body transforms the contour of our individuality and subjectivity. The emerging subjectivity is no longer identical to our consciousness or will to be. The transformation of our environment as a result of, say, global warming or nuclear waste pollutions, inevitably has consequences in our intestinal microenvironment. Prostheses, including robotic devices and smart phones, attached to one’s body, transform the body and the embodied mind, and hence, the mode of existence in the world. In this session, we will be presenting concrete ethnographic cases related to these issues, in one way or another, which will be followed by a cross-disciplinary round-table discussion.

Organizers:  Uchiyamada Yasushi (U of Tsukuba) and Kimura Shuhei (U of Tsukuba)
Chair: Uchiyamada Yasushi (U of Tsukuba)

(Part 1)
9:00-9:10   Uchiyamada Yasushi (U of Tsukuba)
“Opening remarks”
9:10-9:50   Shuhei Kimura  (U of Tsukuba)
 “On the scales to measure disaster reconstruction”
9:55-10:35  David Sprague (NIAES, Tsukuba)
“Trying to see the obvious:  Measurement, categorization, and decision making based on human perceptions of natural variation”
10:35-10:50  Coffee break
10:50-11:30 Valerie Olson (UC Irvine)
“Subjects of the System: Making Humans to Scale in U.S. Environmental Science and Technology”
11:35-12:00 Discussion
Discussants: Toshihiro Kameda (U of Tsukuba), TBA(Part 2)  
13:15-13:55  Junko Teruyama (U of Tsukuba)
“Speaking of how well I speak: personal evaluation of communication skills among autistic individuals”
14:00-14:40  Grant Jun Otsuki (U of Tsukuba)
“The Human as Life or as Communication”
14:40-14:55   Coffee break
14:55-15:35 Mohacsi Gergely (Osaka U)
“Pharmaceutical Gardens: On scaling life and anthropology through bioprospecting medicinal plants in Vietnam”
15:40-16:20  Yasushi Uchiayama  (U of Tsukuba)
“Beyond Perception of the World: being in the world after the nuclear accident”
16:25-16:50  Discussion
16:55-17:15    Roundtable
Discussants: Casper Bruun Jensen (Kyoto U), Robin O’Day (JSPS/ U of Tsukuba),


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