Insect Selves: Posthumanism in Modern Japanese Literature and Culture


ACLS Fellowship Program


Modern Languages and Literatures

Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


This project contends that Japanese artistic and cultural production goes beyond Kafka in making the insect a paradigmatic and affect-rich figure for Japan's modern self, be it alienated or in tune with nature. This study pursues where, when, and how the insect has thrived in Japan's language and environment to such cultural saturation that, in significant instances, it has rearticulated how the modern Japanese self narrates its "I" in its national literature and film. The power of so-called posthuman studies in Japan derives from its ability to capture, in global terms, our intensely mediated animal selves plugged into media and natural environments, all the while posing new questions of our technological and ecological futures.