VECTORS 2

Announcements

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

Propelled by the power of large corporations, human-induced climate change is the existential crisis of our time. In this presentation, Bill Carroll and Shannon Daub offer an overview of a six-year SSHRC-funded Partnership they co-direct, which is mapping the economic, social, political and cultural relations through which carbon capital and its enablers maintain business-as-usual and obstruct change. The partnership brings together community-based and university-based researchers and activists in an initiative that seeks to understand the challenges we face while contributing to effective collective action.

Shannon Daub is Associate Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC Office, and co-director of the Corporate Mapping Project. She is a communication researcher and practitioner. Much of her work has focused on understanding how people in everyday contexts interpret and respond to social problems, in particular climate change, and how public interest research can help mobilize collective action.

Bill Carroll is a professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Victoria, and co-director of the Corporate Mapping Project. Recent books include Expose, Oppose, Propose: Cognitive Praxis in the Struggle for Global Justice, A World to Win: Counter-Hegemony and Contemporary Social Movements (with Kanchan Sarker), and The Making of a Transnational Capitalist Class.

Event Details:
October 16th, 2:30-4:00pm
Technology Enterprise Facility (TEF), 170
2300 McKenzie Rd
University of Victoria

The danger of technology, especially the attempt to create new life in human image, has been a dominant theme of Western literature since Genesis and Icarus. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein  has served as the germ of countless contemporary dystopian narratives. But Japan, a country that seems to have sidestepped a number of the inhibitions that inform the social uses of science and technology, has embraced technology, even and especially when it has engaged in projects to replicate the human form. In recent years, it has become notable as a Mecca for cute and “friendly” robots. Speculative fiction from Japan like Ghost in the Shell provides a far more nuanced and sophisticated response than Hollywood’s TerminatorAI, or Ex Machina to the future potential of non-human entities.

Cody Poulton’s talk will explore the work of Hiroshi Ishiguro in Japan’s rapidly developing robotics industry. Ishiguro has won substantial funding from the Japanese government, and international notoriety, for creating a series of androids that are copies of real human beings: his daughter, himself, and a number of well-known cultural figures. Ted Talks, TV documentaries, and several best-selling books by Ishiguro, report his provocative remarks on simulating humans. Since 2006 he has collaborated with leading playwright Oriza Hirata on a longterm project to create theatre with robots and androids. Showing clips from a number of these works, including the 2015 post-apocalyptic film Sayonara starring Ishiguro’s Geminoid F, Cody Poulton will trace how theatre and film have served as a platform for robotics development and not simply as warnings. As an historian of theatre, I am curious to know how mimesis (one of humankind’s most innate activities) explains our attraction—and aversion—to the human copy. And how can Japanese culture provide answers to questions that are as much ethical as aesthetic to creations fashioned in our own image?

Mark Cody Poulton (PhD, U of T) has been teaching Japanese language, literature and theatre in the Department of Pacific and Asian Studies since 1988. His recent research has focused on Japanese theatre and drama, particularly of the modern period. He has also been active as a translator of kabuki and modern Japanese fiction and drama, for both publication and live stage productions in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia and Japan. In addition, he has been collaborating with Hiroko Noro on a number of projects using drama for Japanese language pedagogy. The working title for Dr. Poulton’s current research, for which he has received a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is “Encounters with the non-Human in Japanese Theatre: Spirits, Animals, Technology.” He is also interested in pilgrimage and the Kumano region of Japan, and in the culture of Japanese cuisine.

Event Details:
October 19th, 2:30-4:00pm
Technology Enterprise Facility (TEF), 170
2300 McKenzie Rd
University of Victoria