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Osaka University International Seminar

2017-2-18 (Sat) 13:00 - 16:30

“Energy and Impact Under the Sun: Risk, Politics, and Environmental Assessment in the American Southwest”
 "To Make the World One in Christ Jesus": Transpacific Protestantism in the Age of Empire"
"Anglo-American atomic collaboration in 1945-1946" 

Osaka University International Seminar

Date: 18 February 2017 (Saturday)

Time: 13:00 – 16:25

Office for University-Industry Collaboration (Building A), Suita Campus, Osaka University (Access map) (Suita Campus Map: #47)

(It takes about 15 minutes on foot from Handaibyoinmae Station).

Presentation: 20-25 minutes

Discussion: 40 minutes for discussion)

Seminar Papers are available for participants only.

Session 1: 13:00-14:00

*Professor Keith Woodhouse (Northwestern University) 

Title: “Energy and Impact Under the Sun: Risk, Politics, and Environmental Assessment in the American Southwest”


One of the central concepts in environmentalism is "impact": how human society changes the non-human world in ways that have serious consequences for people and nature. Environmentalism assumes inherent harm to people and the planet in the the regular, intended functioning of modern institutions, technologies, and social and economic policies. How have Americans reconciled an awareness of environmental impact with a drive to expand the economy and generate material wealth? What risks and rewards are involved, and how should they be weighed against each other? How is environmental impact understood not only in terms of humans and non-humans, but unequal culpability and harm among different social groups?

This paper will examine the history of environmental impact statements (EIS), the "action forcing" mechanism of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The U.S. Congress passed NEPA in 1970, and ever since the EIS process has been one of the most important regulatory measures in environmental law. The paper will focus on energy infrastructure in the late-twentieth century Southwest and will examine legal arguments, environmental activism, and the experience of Native American groups, in order to assess how the modern state dealt with the environmental risks involved in everyday life.

Discussant: Professor Gavin Campbell

Session 2: 14:10-15:10

Professor Gavin Campbell (Doshisha University)

Title: "To Make the World One in Christ Jesus": Transpacific Protestantism in the Age of Empire”


In the late nineteenth century, US Protestant missionaries faced a theological crisis brought on by their global expansion: would all the souls they would never reach end up in hell? The question haunted some, who proposed a period after mortal life called second probation during which unconverted souls would have time to reconsider. The idea sparked enormous controversy in the United States, but East Asian Christians and potential converts, for whom ancestral rites played important social functions, embraced the idea. This paper uses the "future probation" controversy to highlight a transpacific conversation about the shape of an emerging global Protestant communion.

Scholars untangling imperial-age missionary encounters generally either focus on the motivations and ideologies of mission boards, missionaries and theologians, or study how native peoples resisted colonial aggression and cultural imperialism by indigenizing the new faith. As a result, the field’s gravitational pull tends towards tales of domination and resistance. Borrowing from insights of transnational and transpacific history, however, this essay shows how the missionary encounter also created conversations about transnational and transcultural community.

Prodding from East Asian converts fueled the future probation controversy, and this transpacific flow of debate and revelation reminds us that even as East Asian Protestants adapted doctrine to suit local culture, and even as missionaries offered a confounding message of brotherhood and bigotry, neither retreated into separate, localized Protestant communities. Instead, many struggled to realize a transpacific communion. This paper rescues those flawed efforts, reminding us that more than domination and resistance explain the missionary encounter.

Discussant: Professor Keith Woodhouse

Session 3: 15:25-16:25

Dr. Matti Roitto (University of Jyvaskyla)

Title: "Anglo-American atomic collaboration in 1945-1946” 


The atomic bomb was an important factor in shaping the post-war world and the relations between Britain and the United States. In Britain, the atomic technology was perceived not only as a threat, but also as a chance for keeping Britain as a great power in world politics, notwithstanding very restricted resources.

Previous research has presented rather limited or segmented views on British early atomic proliferation in the contexts of domestic policy and Anglo-American relations. Leading scholar on British nuclear proliferation history, Margaret Gowing, has claimed that, despite of the wide public interest and fears stemming from the revealed existence of the atomic bomb, the British Parliament did not have a say or interest in atomic matters. Gowing has argued that everything was run by the government and, especially, the Cabinet or inner circle of the Cabinet. This view has been repeated by other historians without any critical evaluation since the publication of Gowing’s “Independence and Deterrence” (1974). The notion of Parliament’s narrow role in foreign and defense policy has also been suggested in most research relating to parliamentary history. Likewise, the problems of Anglo-American relationship in general, and in atomic co-operation in particular, have often been downplayed. However, the transition from war to peace, though itself a brief period, was actually crucial in the context of Anglo-American relations in later years. The early handling and perceptions of atomic matters had long lasting effects on how nuclear proliferation came to be and how atomic matters were understood.

This lecture combines political history, study of international relations, and parliamentary studies in the context of early nuclear proliferation, in order to consider the case from Britain’s point of view. The volume of research focusing on the early British atomic proliferation and on the years 1945–1946 has been somewhat limited in comparison to research on the American situation. The goal of this study is to illustrate the complex web of factors which ultimately affected changes in British atomic policy and, within one year, led to a change from public, proactive, and internationalist policy to a secretive, reactive, and realist approach. Moreover, these changes and their causes eventually contributed to the partial failure of the Anglo-American atomic collaboration in summer 1946.

Discussant: Dr. Mayako Shimamoto

Date: 2017-2-18 (Sat) 13:00 - 16:30
Organizer: Yoneyuki Sugita Lab
Venue: Office for University-Industry Collaboration (Building A), Suita Campus, Osaka University
Registration: Registration by email is required for this seminar.
Contact: Yoneyuki Sugita Lab

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