The 3-11 Disaster and Its Effect on Cultural Attitudes and Religious Practices in Northeast Japan

Friday, February 7, 2014 - 12:00pm
Event Location: 
Obermann Center Library
111 Church Street
Iowa City, IA 52245

Fujiwara Homesite Shrine
This talk by Nathan Peterson is a joint event between the Center for Asian Pacific Studies and the Reading Asia Through Contemporary Philosophy Obermann Working Group. Peterson, a PhD candidate in the School of Art & Art History, is currently teaching in China at Tianjin University and is engaged in research concerning the effects of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan. He has also done considerable research on the contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. In 2013, Peterson received the Anne T. Cleary Fellowship from the University of Iowa in order to finish his dissertation research.

For this luncheon talk, Peterson will focus on the role of religious institutions—Buddhist temples, Shinto Shrines, and “New Religion” churches—and their practices during the immediate aftermath of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis, as well as the slow recovery process in nearby coastal communities. The devastation of these religious institutions and the temporary altars constructed by people to memorialize their loss gage the scope of the disaster and how it created an unprecedented situation in Northeast Japan. Peterson's research challenges stereotypes of people living in this area while illustrating how, despite the preconception that most Japanese are secular, religious institutions, their practices, and the culture embodied by them kept the communities together when social and civic institutions were at their weakest.

Lunch is being provided by CAPS for this event. Please email if you will be attending.