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The 5th RIHN International Symposium
“The Past and Future of Diversity”

Date: October 13 (Wed) - 15 (Fri)
Venue: RIHN Lecture Hall   access
Organizer: Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN)
Language: English (simultaneous interpretation provided)
Participation: Contact the address shown in the bottom of this page


Symposium Outline:

Humanity and nature have evolved together. Nature is the source material of human perception and culture, and nature's rich diversity—both biotic and abiotic—has cultivated cultural diversity. Yet nature is transformed through human activity: it is both source and subject. This symposium addresses the historical co-evolution of cultural and biological diversity in three fields: food and agriculture, landscape, and ‘satoyama’.

Human cultures continually assess nature and the benefits from which they can elicit their daily sustenance. Agriculture is defined in large part by domestication; it entails a humanization of specific plants, animals and places. Agriculture is both selective and generative, as humanity attempts to simplify environments while advantaging its favoured species. If widespread agricultural simplification now threatens biological diversity in general, how can contemporary societies create regenerative agricultural ecologies?

Landscape is the theater for everyday life. Landscapes reveal diverse social values and imaginaries, as social values are embedded in people's practices of living in particular places. A society's sense of itself is therefore often closely linked to the landscapes it inhabits. If globalization entails cultural homogenization, will humanity lose its creative source of landscape diversity?

The traditional agrarian cultural landscape of Japan is known as satoyama. It was a rich mosaic landscape, continually utilized and modified, surrounding human settlements. Many generically similar cultural landscapes exist throughout the world, and many are in danger of degradation. How can such landscapes be used to preserve ecological complexity and human quality of life? What wisdom useful to the contemporary world lies embedded in them?

Human understanding of biological diversity and its future in particular places must also encompass the way human life has historically affected these places. This symposium addresses the past and prospective interactions between human cultural and biological diversity in food, agriculture and contemporary landscape.

Opening Session

Session1 Landscape as a Source of Cultural Diversity

Session2 On the Nature and Culture in Agrobiodiversity

Session3 Biodiversity and the Wisdom in Agrarian Landscape

Session4 Summary and Roundtable Discussion

Go to Program (You can download abstract)


(For Participation Inquiry)
International Affairs Subsection

tel: +81-75-707-2152 fax: +81-75-707-2106


(For Scientific Contents)

tel: +81-75-707-2478 fax: +81-75-707-2507