Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Performing Disaster: The Response to 3.11 and the Great Kantō Earthquake in Japanese Film and Theater
by Wiesinger, Justine Kirby, Ph.D., Yale University, 2018, 295; 10957346
Abstract (Summary)

The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, known colloquially by the shorthand "3.11," claimed at least 16,000 lives and caused extreme damage to landscape and property, also triggering one of the most serious nuclear crises in history. These events were of great social, economic, cultural, and political consequence and are therefore in need of study from multiple perspectives. Sociologist Jeffrey C. Alexander, as a leading theorist of the model of cultural trauma, sees the work of "trauma drama" as crucial to the collective creation and negotiation of claims toward large-scale trauma. My dissertation seeks to investigate Alexander's insight more thoroughly. This dissertation seeks not only to broaden the field of view of collective trauma studies with a new case study, but to deepen the understanding of how performance functions as a part of the collective trauma creation process. To that end, this dissertation has a topical organization that analyzes space, time, and the body as nodes of intersection between post-3.11 anxiety sites and aspects of stage and film performance. Closely reading film and stage plays while examining the specific formal mechanisms by which they manipulate space, time, and the body in the aftermath of disaster, I argue that stage and film performances are especially powerful means through which to stake and (re)negotiate claims regarding trauma, particularly in response to the specifics of the 3.11 disaster. Inspired by the socially contextualized approach to performance studies pioneered by Richard Schechner and Victor Turner, this dissertation accesses a wide array of cultural and theoretical sources, including the spatial theory of Henri Lefebvre, the temporal Deleuzian scholarship of D.N. Rodowick, and Erin Manning's theory on the political impact of touch, alongside trauma theory and a multiplicity of readings on the significance of 3.11.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gerow, Aaron
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian literature, Asian Studies, Film studies
Keywords: 3.11, Disaster, Japan, Nuclear, Performance, Trauma
Publication Number: 10957346
ISBN: 978-0-438-27391-7
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