Spawning Modern Fish
Transnational Comparison in the Making of Japanese Salmon
- PUBLISHED: October 2022
- SUBJECT LISTING: Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Asian Studies / Japan
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 274 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 9 b&w illus., 2 maps
- SERIES: Culture, Place, and Nature
- ISBN: 9780295750385
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Since the mid-nineteenth century, agricultural development and fisheries management in northern Japan have been profoundly shaped by how people within and beyond Japan have compared Hokkaido's landscapes to those of other places, as part of efforts to make the new Japanese nation-state more legibly "modern." In doing so, they engaged in non-conforming modes of thinking that reached out to diverse places, including the American West and southern Chile. Today, the comparisons made by Hokkaido fishing industry professionals, scientists, and Ainu indigenous groups between the island's forests, fields, and waters and those of other places around the world continue to dramatically affect the region's approaches to environmental management and its physical landscapes. In this far-ranging ethnography, Heather Anne Swanson shows how this traffic in ideas shapes the course of Hokkaido's development, its fish, and the lives of people on and beyond the island while structuring trade dynamics, political economy, and multispecies relations in watersheds around the globe.
Authors & Contributors
Heather Swanson is associate professor of anthropology at Aarhus University, Denmark, and director of the Aarhus University Centre for the Environmental Humanities. She is the coeditor of Domestication Gone Wild: Politics and Practices of Multispecies Relations and Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet.
"Altogether, Spawning Modern Fish succeeds resoundingly in its intentions...Because it addresses so many audiences effectively, Swanson’s study will help us realize one of multispecies ethnography’s hopes and promises. We can think with salmon toward how new, better, and more just relations among uneven arrangements of humans and nonhumans might be built."-
"Spans long-standing disciplinary interests in nations and nation-making with emerging concerns in multispecies entanglements. Swanson animates these themes with the stories of historical and contemporary individuals."- C. Anne Claus, author of Drawing the Sea Near: Satoumi and Coral Reef Conservation in Okinawa
"Simply put, it is the best book using the theory and methods of multispecies ethnography that I have read in years."- Eben Kirksey, author of Emergent Ecologies
"Swanson suggests that comparison is a powerful world-making practice—molding identities, politics, national imaginaries, and structures of discourse. A marvelous book."- Michael Hathaway, author of Environmental Winds: Making the Global in Southwest China
"This thoughtful and fascinating book draws us into the co-shaping relationships between salmon, people, and landscapes in Japan. At its heart it is a probing exploration of what it means to "compare well" and a forceful argument that learning to do so is a vital part of crafting flourishing futures in Japan and beyond."- Thom van Dooren, author of A World in a Shell: Snail Stories for a Time of Extinctions