The Nonhuman in Japanese Culture and Society: Spirits, Animals, Technology

September 21, 2018 - September 24, 2018
University of Victoria


CAPI presents "The Nonhuman in Japanese Culture and Society: Spirits, Animals, Technology," a four-day conference at the University of Victoria featuring a line-up of leading international scholars and artists whose areas of exploration cover a wide array of "nonhuman" issues in Japanese society, including both traditional and popular (particularly otaku) culture, digital media, and social robotics, from animal studies and new materialism to augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and performance and puppetry.


The following conference events are free and open to the public (updated September 7, 2018):

(note: If you wish to attend the full program of events, including catered meals and an opening reception on Friday evening, the full conference program and registration (CAD$300) is aviailable via the conference website)

Full speaker bios and abstracts are available on the conference website >

| pdf print version of this program + map

Friday, Sept. 21: 

Time Event Presenter Title Location
4-5pm Talk Timon Screech (University of London)

"The Shogun’s Silver Telescope and the First English Voyages to Japan, 1611-16"

Fraser (Law) Building, Room 157

Saturday, Sept. 22: 

Time Event Presenter Title Location
3:30-4:25pm Talk Takayuki Tatsumi (Keio University, Tokyo) “Ghosts in the City: Towards the Aesthetics of the Cyber-Picturesque" Fraser (Law) Building, Room 159
4:35-5:30pm Talk Mari Kotani (Meiji University, Tokyo) “Techno-gothic Romance between ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’ and Cyborgs”
7:00pm Performances (Orion Series in Fine Arts) Larry Kominz and students of Portland State University An evening of Japanese Animals, Angels, Gods, and Puppets

Philip Young Recital Hall, UVic
Colleen Lanki (Tomoe Arts, Vancouver)

Sunday, Sept. 23:

Time Event Presenter Title Location
3:20-4:10pm Talk (CAPI Albert Hung Lecture) Timon Screech (University of London) "The Living Image" (Mythologies of Artistic Production during Japan's Edo Period)  Fraser (Law) Building, Room 159
4:15-5:05pm Talk Barbara Ambros (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) "Gratitude and Treasuring Lives: Eating Animals in Contemporary Japan"
5:10-6:00pm Talk (Lansdowne Lecture) Thomas Lamarre (McGill University, Canada) "Errant Naturalism" (The Naturalism of Shimazaki Tōson from Meiji Japan)
7:00pm Reading Yōko Tawada (Japanese-German author) from Memoirs of a Polar Bear Fraser (Law) Building, Room 159

Monday, Sept. 24:

Time Event Presenter Title Location
11am-noon Talk (Lansdowne Lecture) Jennifer Robertson (University of Michigan) "Robots and Reincarnation: Intersections of Technology and Spirituality in Japan" Medical Services Building, Room 160
12:45pm Talk (Orion Series in Fine Arts) Larry Kominz (Portland State University) "Staging Equality: Parody and Satire in Kyogen" Phoenix Theatre
4-4:45pm Talk (via video-link) Edward Scheer (University of New South Wales, Australia) "Stelarc in the Air (The Flight of the Posthuman)" Medical Services Building, Room 160
4:45-5:30pm Talk (via video-link)

Stelarc (Australian performance artist)

"Phantom Flesh/Hyper Human"


| pdf print version of this program + map

campus map

CAPI Visiting Scholar Cody Poulton

Conference organizer Dr. Cody Poulton is CAPI's Visiting Scholar for the period 2017-2022. He is a faculty member with UVic's Pacific and Asian Studies Department and his recent research has focused on Japanese theatre and drama, particularly of the modern period.

conference sponsors:

sponsor logos

Jonathan Woods