Surprising Pedagogy through Japanese Anime


  • duskin drum Anthropocene Commons


At the intersection of embodiment, education, and anime, this essay describes how transcultural classroom encounters with anime can pollinate changes in ecological self-conceptions and thus embodiment. Using examples from teaching with anime in Russia and the United States, I describe how interpretive encounters shifted students’ ecological self-sense and conceptualization of embodiment. In the classroom, anime acted as an interpretive device for teaching contemporary thought about ecology, technology, microbes, animal-human figures, interconnection, and interdependence. I present evidence of oddly successful encounters between local Japanese cultural/embodied contexts of anime and its partial connections to globally shared human ecological and technological situations. In these transcultural encounters, the Japanese anime pollinate and germinate material and conceptual possibilities that are incipient for the students but not easily possibly with outside pollination.

Author Biography

duskin drum, Anthropocene Commons

duskin drum is an interdisciplinary scholar, artist, performer, seaman, and woodsman who has been making art and performance in Asia, Europe, and the Americas for twenty-five years. As an undergraduate, duskin studied interdisciplinary theatre and performance at Evergreen State College; in 2017, he completed a doctorate in performance studies with degree specializations in science and technology studies and Native American studies at the University of California, Davis. He has gone on to university positions in Russia and China. duskin’s work circulates around and through studying and expressing ecological relations—what he calls substantive relations, which sustain particular ways of everyday human life. Substantive relations are crucial companions and feedstock—significant others such as salmon and caribou, or petroleum and lithium, or worldly foundations like geographical features and locations. Broadly, duskin works with two intertwined methods: creative practices like art, performance, and theatre, along with theoretical, analytical study of infrastructure, technology, and environmental justice. With both methods, he aims to contribute to changes in epistemological, cultural, and political economic relationships with nature precipitated by global warming and other consequences of industrial and colonial society.