The Emergence of Queer Nature in Modern Japan: Minakata Kumagusu (1867—1941) and the Politics of Planetary Knowledge
Supervisor: Sho Konishi
My DPhil thesis focuses on the history of trans-disciplinary and planetary knowledge formation once embraced by the life and work of the naturalist and polymath Minakata Kumagusu (1867—1941), who specialized in the epistemology and biology of the micro-organism slime mould. In so doing, I aim to narrate the intellectual history of what I defined as “Queer Nature” that emerged at the turn of the century.
-- ACADEMIC INITIATIVES
The main motivation behind the thesis is in my interest in non-Cartesian intellectual and cultural histories of nature in Europe and East Asia and their relevance to the practice of knowledge today. As a way to experiment the possibility, I co-initiated "Ecologies of Knowledge and Practice: Japanese Studies and the Environmental Humanities"-- an interdisciplinary workshop for international postgraduates and early career researchers that took place at St Antony's College on 27th and 28th October 2017. Concurrently, the workshop aspired to transcend disciplinary and national intellectual boundaries within Area Studies, whilst simultaneously promoting integration between Area Studies and "mainstream" Euro-American discourse on planetary concerns. > https://ecologiesknowledgeandpractice.wordpress.com
Expanding on this inter-disciplinary and inter-area-studies concern within the discipline of history, I co-founded the Oxford Environmental History Network with my cohort. Environmental historians often belong to different departments and faculties, and at Oxford, they are yet to share a sub-institutional affiliation. Hence, they are not always informed of relevant work done by their colleagues within the same University. The OEHN fills this gap and connects researchers working in environmental history to foster intellectual cross-pollination.
-- PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT WITH RESEARCH
I strongly believe in the significance of public engagement activities and nurturing of knowledge beyond the "ivory tower" of academia. Recent PE ranges from appearances on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking, a documentary by the NHK World, to a local radio programme in countryside Japan and participation to public talk events at alternative cultural platforms, galleries, and a national think-tank.
Many of the above developed from my prior profession as a curator and writer of contemporary art and ideas with a focus on arts and science collaborative practices and Anglo-Japanese cultural and intellectual relations.
Recent publications include “’Planetary’ Knowledge? Moving Beyond Internationalism” in 5: Designing Media Ecology: The Anthropocene and Our Post-natural Future (Tokyo, 2016), “Political Ecology of Art and Architecture in Japan: 100 Years Ago and Now” in Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art: Political Ecology in East Asia (Bristol, 2016), and “On Atomic Subjectivity” in The Nuclear Culture Source Book (London, 2016). >https://oxford.academia.edu/EikoHonda
-- CURRENT AND PAST FELLOWSHIPS AND FUNDING BODIES
- PhD Research Fund, Stapley Educational Trust, UK
- Conference Bursary, British Association for Japanese Studies, UK
- Mellon Humanities & Identities Conference and Workshop Funding, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, University of Oxford, UK
- Japan Foundation London Grant Programme: Japanese Studies & Intellectual Exchange, UK
- Toshiba International Foundation Fellowship, Japan
- Research Grant, Japan Foundation Endowment Committee, UK
- BAJS Studentship, British Association for Japanese Studies, Leeds, UK
- STAR Award, St Antony’s College, Oxford, UK
- Bursary, International Society for Science and Religion, Cambridge MA, USA
- European Association for Japanese Studies Workshop for Doctoral Students, Lisbon, Portugal
- AHRC-TORCH Public Engagement with Research Summer School, University of Oxford, UK
- Antonian Fund [academic initiatives], St Antony’s College, Oxford, UK
- The Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentship, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, UK
- Storry Memorial Travelling Bursary, The Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford, UK
- Oxford Sasakawa Fund Scholarship, The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, UK
- Anthropocene Curriculum ⏐ Campus: The Technosphere Issue, Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany
- Arts Award, UK Embassy of Taiwan and the Ministry of Culture, Government of Taiwan
- Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course, Government of South Korea
- Overseas Curatorial Fellowship, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan
- Arts Award, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, UK