8th Annual Burge Lecture – Dr. Ian Miller, “Illumination and its Discontents: Electricity Theft and the Political Economy of Japanese Energy”

“Illumination and its Discontents: Electricity Theft and the Political Economy of Japanese Energy”


Thursday, March 29, 2018
Reception: 5:00-6:30 PM
Lecture: 6:30 PM
Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre


About the Lecture:

How did the world’s third-largest economy, Japan, become addicted to fossil fuels? The first non-Western nation to industrialize—a process driven by calories from coal and calories from bodies—the country now imports 97% of its primary energy and is home to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, site of three partial core meltdowns. This talk takes us back to the dawn of the energy-intensive culture that we now call “modernity,” tracing the emergence of new attitudes towards electrical power and tracking the development of a political economy that has colonized the climate. Our focus will be tight: the streets of Yokohama and Tokyo at the beginning of the twentieth century. This presentation builds on Miller’s work as a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellow.

RSVP for the Reception and Lecture Here

About the Speaker:

Ian Jared Miller is a historian of Japan and East Asia at Harvard University where he is Professor of History. His research is primarily concerned with the cultural dimensions of scientific, technological, and environmental change. He is the author of The Nature of the Beasts: Empire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo (University of California Press, 2013) and co-editor with Brett L. Walker and Julia Adeney Thomas of Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power (University of Hawaii Press, 2013).


This event is presented by the History Graduate Student Association as part of the Meiji at 150 Lecture Series hosted by the Centre for Japanese Research, the Department of History, and the Department of Asian Studies.