Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Seminar | Solidarity with the non-human? Typhoons as spectres of nature in high-modernist Japan | Gerry van Klinken

14/03/2023 @ 15:30 - 17:00

The Japanese are famous for their love of nature. So why are their coastlines and rivers full of concrete against typhoons? In a century of newspaper discussion about them that I have reconstructed, typhoons appear as a “spectral” presence of violent natural forces. The Buddhist law of impermanence (mujō) vies with the risk-averse idea of “fixing” the environment with concrete (seibi). Who, why, when, and how? These are our questions today.


Gerry van Klinken is emeritus professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Amsterdam, honorary research fellow at KITLV Leiden, honorary professor at the University of Queensland. He has written extensively about citizenship and middle classes in Indonesia. The current paper is part of his “coming out” in a new project on the history of climate change governance in Asia.


Ivo Smits, Professor of Arts and Cultures of Japan at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS). His field of expertise comprises literature and film in Japan. His research focuses on early medieval classical texts in both classical Japanese and classical Chinese.

Doreen Müller, Lecturer Japanese Art and Material Culture, Leiden University. Müller is an historian of the visual arts and material culture of Japan. Her research addresses the interaction of images and text in the narrative scroll tradition and in printed media in early modern Japan.


David Kloos, senior researcher at KITLV. He is interested in religion, gender, violence, colonialism, knowledge formation, visual methods, and the social and political aspects of climate change. 

Format, date, time & venue

This seminar is a hybrid event and will be held in the conference room of KITLV (room 1.68) and online via Zoom, on Tuesday 14 March, from 15.30 – 17.00 PM (CET).


If you want to join this seminar on location, please register via: [email protected].

If you wish to join this webinar online, please register here.


Gust of wind – Manga, 1820. Artist: Katsushika Hokusai.


15:30 - 17:00
Event Category:


View Organizer Website


KITLV, room 1.68 & via Zoom