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Japan at Nature's EdgeThe Environmental Context of a Global Power$
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Ian Jared Miller, Julia Adeney Thomas, and Brett L. Walker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836924

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836924.001.0001

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Using Japan to Think Globally

Using Japan to Think Globally

The Natural Subject of History and Its Hopes

(p.293) 15 Using Japan to Think Globally
Japan at Nature's Edge

Julia Adeney Thomas

University of Hawai'i Press

This concluding chapter explains how Japan, demographically and in other ways, provides a global perspective about the future in relation to the national past. It first considers some of the critical problems raised by global environmental history, such as whether the human species can serve as the proper subject of history, or how we can find hope in the face of catastrophic climate change. It argues that Japan can help address these globally generated conundrums less as a limited case study than as a theoretical and practical resource. It also examines how the new materialism of environmental history is reshaping older global stories and challenging the distinction between premodern and modern, noncapitalist developmentalism and capitalism, and Asia and the West. Finally, it discusses the reasons why “the nation,” and Japan in particular, is still a worthy object of interest to the environmental historian.

Keywords:   environmental history, human species, climate change, Japan, materialism, developmentalism, capitalism, Asia, West, global perspective

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