I Want to Learn How to Think Beyond Academic Disciplines

Academic Frontier Lectures (A Semester)
Fiscal Year 2014 "Elimination"



“Elimination” as one of the essentials in the lives of living beings. This moment, like food intake, forces individuals to open up to others, and it has been relegated to a secondary status within the conceptual framework of the modern human, whose principle is in its “autonomy.” It is also the recognition of its “naturalness” that has been lying behind the historical absence of open examinations of the unexpected/unwanted byproducts that result from such a major activity. In other words, it has been considered as “best left in nature,” thereby “naturally” taking care of itself; however, it seems that we are now faced with instances where that “naturalness” is threatened and shaken on various levels. This issue of elimination, which was supposedly solved – naturally -- on its own around the time when humans attained their “autonomous” status, is now being problematized in different contexts like “developmental disability” and “care work.” Furthermore, if we turn our attention on to the macro level, today is an era when issues of what is disposed from human activities – from CO2, garbage, to even nuclear waste – attract more attention and questions than ever before. At the same time, however, these questions are demanding our fundamental reexamination of the “nature” and “concept” of the human.

From these angles, this Lecture Series aims at providing perspectives for questioning the concept of the modern human, by starting from the narrowly defined “elimination” and going over issues of disposal and exclusion on various levels and situations.