November 14, 2008
Hope in the Economy
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.
Hirokazu Miyazaki is an associate professor of Anthropology at Cornell University. His research interests include economic and historical anthropology, the anthropology of religion, materiality, and Christianity. His most recent work has focused on developing an ethnographically informed theory of hope that also expands understanding of the place of hope in knowledge formation; it includes research collaboration with the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Social Science. His publications include Arbitraging Japan: Traders as Critics of Capitalism (2013) and The Method of Hope: Anthropology, Philosophy, and Fijian Knowledge (2004), as well as numerous journal articles in both English and Japanese. He earned his Ph.D. at Australian National University.