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MillerFlyerToday, as the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant smolders, leaching radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, Japan–the world’s third-largest economy–imports 94% of its primary energy. Foreign coal and hydrocarbons provide the vast majority of the nation’s power. This talk uses the crisis at Fukushima and the history of electricity to rethink the energy-intensive culture that we call “modernity.”  Lit by gas lamps and oil lanterns until the end of the nineteenth century, by 1942 the boulevards of Tokyo were ablaze with the incandescent “Edison lights” and awash with cinders and grime from the colonial coal that powered those lights.  Tokyo was the center of an energy empire that reached from the coal mines of Sakhalin to the oil wells of Indonesia. It was also among the most electrified environments on Earth. We will ask how that remarkable transformation took place, tracking its origins back to the formative decades surrounding 1900.Ian Miller is Associate Professor in the History Department at Harvard University.
This talk is part of the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute’s Fall 2013 Speaker Series at Duke.
DATE:  November 14, 2013
LOCATION:  Friedl 225, Duke (East Campus)
TIME:  4:00-5:30pm

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