Kati Lindström is an environmental humanities scholar who has worked across a wide range of disciplines. Starting off with undergraduate and graduate studies in literature and semiotics in the University of Tartu, she did her PhD studies in cultural anthropology at Kyoto University, Japan, and, in close collaboration with archaeologists, geographers, folklorists, ecologists and others, worked as a co-leader of a landscape history project on Neolithisation and Modernisation processes and environmental protection at East Asian inland seas at Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, (Neolithization and Modernisation: Landscape History on East Asian Inland Seas, 2005-2012, Kyoto, Japan). Currently she holds a Post-Doc position at the Environmental Humanities Laboratory at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden with a project „Natures and Nationalism: Japanese Perspectives“ and is a researcher at the Department of Semiotics at the University of Tartu, incolced in the activities of Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (University of Tartu, Estonia). Kati Lindström is also a founding and board member of the Estonian Centre for Environmental History and collaborates with Estonian National Museum for its new exhibition on environmental history (to be opened in 2016). Her research interests range from landscape phenomenology and national landscape imagery to environmental protection and the environmental history of East Asia and Baltic regions.
Research Project at KTH: "Natures and Nationalism: Japanese Perspectives"
The post-doctoral research project analyses the use of ecological notions and environmental imagery in nationalist discourse and its impact on protection and management policies. While protection policies appeal to scientific principles and are often grounded on ecological reasoning, they can nevertheless be easily engaged into a political and national agenda because of the ahistoric nature of systemic descriptions. The present project takes three areas of cultural and natural heritage in Central and North-Western Japan (historical Ohmi, Hida and Fukushima areas in today's Shiga, Toyama and Fukushima prefectures) as a case study and analyses how the ecological notion of sustainability in the traditional agrarian landscapes gets involved in modern Japanese nationalism. The case studies represent the cradle of Japanese rice agribusiness and the focus of pictorial representations of the satoyama ecosystems (Shiga prefecture) on the one hand, and on the other, the mountainous Toyama areas where up to the end of 19th century the economy was based on swidden millet agriculture combined with silk and gunpowder contraband. These two locations that host some emblematic rural heritage sites are compared to the discourse on industrial heritage and Fukushima agriculture, in the light of March 11, 2011 tsunami and nuclear catastrophe. It discusses how nature-based nationalism has emerged during the nation-building process and how natural, cultural and industrial heritage management links to it.
Neolithization and Modernisation: Landscape History on East Asian Inland Seas Project (2005-2012, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Japan)