CFP: “Writers Who Have Seen Too Much: Earth, Kin, Care," Japanese literature, UCI, 9/30~10/1 2022

Anne McKnight's picture

With apologies for cross-posting, I would like to announce a CFP for a conference that will be held September 30 and October 1 at UC Irvine on the writers Chiri Yukie (1903-1922), Sakiyama Tami (1954- ), Tsushima Yuko (1947-2016), Ishimure Michiko (1927-2018), and Kobayashi Erika (1978-). Information and timeline below; please contact Margherita Long ( or Jon Pitt ( with any questions.


Call for Proposals 

“Writers Who Have Seen Too Much: Earth, Kin, Care”

International Japanese Literature Symposium

30 September – 1 October 2022, In Person

University of California, Irvine


This two-day conference gathers scholars who work on five writers: Chiri Yukie (1903-1922), Sakiyama Tami (1954- ), Tsushima Yuko (1947-2016), Ishimure Michiko (1927-2018), and Kobayashi Erika (1978- ). Our title refers to the emotional toll taken by environmental destruction at four ongoing moments in Japanese modernity: the theft of Ainu lands, the theft of Ryukyuan lands, the Minamata mercury poisoning incident, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. How do those who “see too much” use literature not only to critique but also to affirm? How does literature allow them to engage the earth, and what modes of kinship, both human and more-than-human, do they narrate in the process? Our aim is to open environmental questions in new (and old) directions: disability studies, indigenous knowledges, care feminisms, and philosophies of vitalism. By focusing on figures who have inspired some of the most compelling multilingual scholarship in Japanese literature studies, we want to cultivate relationships between senior and junior scholars while also developing our understanding of how the five writers amplify each other’s projects.


Topics: We welcome proposals on any of the five writers and/or additional figures who are in direct conversation, on topics including but not limited to:


indigeneity and indigenous knowledges/sciences 

disability studies 

queer/trans ecology 

vitalism debates: eugenics vs. anarchism /animism 

animal/plant studies 

ecopoetics and obligate storytelling

climate caucasianism and transpacific racial justice

activist narrative as literature


affective labor / feminism / legacies of ribu




Margherita Long, UC Irvine

Jon L Pitt, UC Irvine

Anne McKnight, UC Riverside

Vanessa Baker, UC Irvine

Sponsorship: Generous support from a Japan Foundation Institutional Grant will cover travel and lodging for most participants


6/6/22 Abstracts due

6/27/22 Conference Program Announced

8/15/22 COVID decision: cancel or commit to in-person

8/30/22 One-page paper outlines due to conference website

8/31/22 Panels meet by zoom to identify connections (30 minutes)

9/30/22-10/1/22: Conference

Abstract Submission