Writing Ecologies: Undoing the Long Twentieth Century: ‘Artificial Cultivation’ of Wild Mushrooms in Contemporary Japan

When and Where

Friday, March 24, 2023 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
EAS Lounge - 14th Floor
Robarts Library Building
130 St George Street


Shiho Satsuka, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto
Moderator: Chu Wang, PhD Candidate, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto


Professor Satsuka’s talk, entitled “Undoing the Long Twentieth Century: ‘Artificial Cultivation’ of Wild Mushrooms in Contemporary Japan,” will share her second book project, where she explores the possibilities of mushroom science to realize interspecies entanglements, dissolve the twentieth-century style state-science-industrial complex, and explore the possibility of co-habitation of various human and nonhuman beings on the earth.

In particular, the project traces interspecies encounters in satoyama forest revitalization movements inspired by the charisma of matsutake, the politics of translation between various scientific and other forms of knowledge, as well as the emergence of “new commons.”

Shiho Satsuka is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, where she explores the politics of knowledge, environment, nature, science, and capitalism across East Asia and North America. Her first book, Nature in Translation: Japanese Tourism Encounters the Canadian Rockies (Duke University Press, 2015), offers a rich ethnographic account of Japanese tour guides as “nature interpreters” in Canada's Banff National Park.

She shows how divergent understandings of nature and forms of subjectivity were contested and transformed in the context of global capitalism, revealing frictional yet productive dynamics that gesture at different imaginations of the human self, society, and relationships with nature. 

Writing Ecologies: Environmental Humanities and East Asia is a new monthly Speaker Series, which brings together recent scholarship experimenting with ecocritical and greater-than-human approaches in the context of East Asia.

'Writing ecologies' entails the practice of pushing the edges of conventional anthropocentric narratives in history, literary studies, anthropology and beyond. Seeking to respond to the urgency of addressing environmental questions in the humanities and social sciences, we are excited to present a great lineup of speakers and embark on a journey to trace the glimmers of entanglements between humans, land, water, animals, plants, fungi, and much more.

With situated research and stories in East Asia, this series foregrounds critical interventions that advance our understanding of the global environmental crisis and enrich our imagination of a more habitable future.

Writing Ecologies: Environmental Humanities and East Asia is organized by Qieyi Liu and MengRan Xu. PhD Candidates in the Department of East Asian Studies