The Consumption of Aloeswood and the Incense Culture of Japan

Krisa Fredrickson : Individual Major

Mentor: Professor Nelson Graburn, Anthropology

Krisa will travel this summer to Japan and Laos in order to explore the complex relationship between aesthetic and environmental practices through a case study of aloeswood, a highly valued ingredient in many Japanese incenses that is harvested in Southeast Asia. She plans to produce an ethnography of the incense culture of Japan and to explore the environmental impact of harvesting practices by the Lao suppliers of the raw material used by traditional incense arts practitioners. Krisa's research will serve as her Honors Thesis for her self-designed Individual Major in Ethnobotany, the study of cultural uses of plants. She also plans to document her research in audio-visual form in order to educate the broadest possible audience of artists, scientists and religious groups and to promote more ecologically sound production and consumption practices.