Sarah Phillips to present 'Fukushima is not Chernobyl? Don’t be so sure' Sept. 19

Sarah Phillips, Indiana University professor of anthropology, will present her lecture, "Fukushima is not Chernobyl? Don't be so sure," at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in room 102 of the Franklin W. Olin building on the Luther College campus.

The lecture will be followed by a brown-bag Q&A session at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, in the Mott room of Dahl Centennial Union. 

Phillips focuses on the issues of nuclear technology in various cultural contexts. She considers whether peaceful nuclear technology is possible based on the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, and the nuclear explosion and meltdown in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986.

Using postdisaster ethnographic work from both sites, Phillips argues that the evasiveness that occurs in the domains of medicine, science and governance surrounding nuclear technology creates assumptions that lead the public to believe nuclear reactors are safe to live near. In reality, she asserts, the public's concerns are disregarded.

Phillips has conducted research in the Ukraine since 1995, focusing on medical anthropology, health-related social movements, the Chernobyl disaster and HIV prevention. In 2011, she published the book, "Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine." Phillips visited Japan during 2012 to conduct comparative research on the social fallout of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Phillips holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology and Russian from Wake Forest University, and a master's degree and doctorate in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Sarah Phillips, Indiana University professor of anthropology