Disaster and Resilience: Lessons from Minamata

This combination online book discussion and workshop will explore the Freeman Book Award winning graphic novel The Minamata Story: An EcoTragedy, which tells the story of how the Japanese town of Minamata became synonymous with environmental tragedy and recovery. The story of the Minamata disaster, on the island of Kyushu, has application to a range of subject areas and is an excellent case study of human-caused environmental disasters and what we can do about them. The events in Minamata profoundly impacted the relationship between local people, corporations, and the environment and helped spur environmental law and policy in Japan. In addition to discussion of the graphic novel we will also explore how primary source photography of the aftermath of the tragedy allowed grassroots activists to successfully campaign for government and corporate accountability.

Program leaders
Dr. Brian Dowdle, Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Culture, and Mansfield Fellow, University of Montana.
Dr. Lauren Collins, Program Director of Asian Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Image: The Chisso chemical plant in Minamata, Japan (Minimata Disease Municipal Museum). Photo credit: UN News

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