PhD '22 (East Asian history), University of Chicago
Modern Japan, Disaster Studies, Environmental History, Global Memory Culture, Transnational History, Public History, Emotional History
The Earth Still Shakes: A History of Disaster Memorials in Modern Japan
Alex Jania is a historian of disaster, global memory culture, and modern Japan in the world. Alex’s work sits at the intersection of environmental history, memory studies, and transnational history and seeks to understand how people have used memory practices to make sense of their relationship to past, present, and future environmental hazards. His first book project, Archipelago of Disaster, Archipelago of Memory: Disaster Memorials and History in Modern Japan, explores the history of memorials built in the wake of earthquake and tsunami events in 20th and 21st century Japan, their place in a wider global circulation of memory practice, and their impact as works of public history.
Committed to making the academy more accessible, Alex is an active public historian. Most related to his research, Alex has participated in several memorial organizations dedicated to sharing the memory of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster (also known as 3.11) with English-speaking audiences. As a practitioner, in addition to researcher, of disaster memorials, Alex is interested in how the memorial form can be used to address ongoing disasters, like the climate crisis. Currently Alex is developing a memorial to the 1995 Chicago Heat Wave and other victims of heat death in the age of climate change.
Alex received his Ph.D. with distinction in History from the University of Chicago in August 2022. He also holds a M.A. in Interdisciplinary East Asian Studies from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in History from Baylor University.
- Course Spotlight: Disastrous Histories
- Alex Jania to Serve as Master of Ceremonies During Kizuna 10: Inochi
- Course Spotlight: Public History Practicum
- Alex Jania on COVIDCalls Episode #337: Disaster Memory in East Asia
- “How Should Americans Remember COVID-19?: Lessons from Post-Disaster Memorials in Japan”