Kevin Richardson
History

Kevin writes about the history of industrial pollution and environmental activism in 1970s Japan. In his dissertation, entitled Scientific Wastelands and Toxic Utopias: The New Environmentalism of 1970s Japan, Kevin looks at how the postwar dream of limitless economic growth sustained by scientific progress transformed into a toxic nightmare in the 1970s, producing a national "pollution crisis" that threatened to undo the nation's rapid economic ascension. Focusing on the new environmentalist movements created in the crisis, he analyzes how diverse groups of citizens contested the paradigm of unlimited growth and the monopolization of science and technology by private industrial giants as the core of their environmental activism. Kevin shows how Japanese environmentalist movements were based on rejecting economic developmentalism and mid-century utopian visions of scientific progress rather than romantic visions of nature or repudiating modern society. His work engages the complex negotiation between local and national-global environmental and political issues that environmentalists navigated in order to create a movement that engaged localized environmental concerns while contesting the structural politco-economic causes of ecological disruption. He pays particular attention to the roles of scientists and engineers in environmentalism who reflected on their own culpability in industrial pollution and became fierce environmental activists. Kevin considers the relevance of '70s Japanese environmentalism, which was premised on reforming economic policies as well as science and technology, to today's climate crisis.


Kevin's interests include the environmental history, science and technology studies, and the history of activism.