This event occurred on November 14, 2008
The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs
In this lecture, Professor Miyazaki examined personal hope as an emergent locus of articulation between the secular and the nonsecular in public debates about political and economic futures in the U.S. and Japan. From the recent encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI to the speeches of Barack Obama, hope has emerged as a key concept in the political theology of the present moment. Hiro Miyazaki seeks to bring the political-theological deployment of hope in conversation with current debates about the economy; in particular, turning to several recent efforts by Japanese public intellectuals to theorize Japan’s increasing inequality in terms of the uneven distribution of hope.
Hiro Miyazaki is a Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University. His recent work has been driven by a very simple question: how do we keep hope alive? He has investigated the question in two radically different field sites, a peri-urban village in Suva, Fiji and a trading room of a major Japanese securities firm in Tokyo. His analysis draws attention to the capacity of people to create hopeful moments across different facets of their life ranging from petitions to the government to gift-giving rituals, Christian church services and business activities. Miyazaki is currently developing a comparative research project on the impact of the language of risk on the character of civil engineering knowledge in Japan and the United States.
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