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3.11 Virtual Conference: Looking back to look forward

March 7, 2012

 11-12 March 2012 Begins 11 March, 8:00 a.m., Japan Standard Time (6:00 p.m., March 10, EST)

The actively moderated period for the Virtual Conference has now ended. However, we encourage everyone to continue the conversation both by viewing the Featured Essays on the ONLINE FORUM and by posting your responses. (The site will remain open for comments for at least the next 30 days.)

On the one-year anniversary of the triple disasters that devastated eastern Japan we welcome you to participate in an interdisciplinary online conversation, taking place 11-12 March 2012.  The event will commemorate and discuss major issues and concerns raised – and still unsettled – related to the confluence of last year’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters.

Scholars from multiple disciplines, especially in the fields of history of science and technology and science studies, will lead an online discussion about this moment of rupture in history in a “virtual conference” co-sponsored by the Fukushima Forum and Teach 3.11. Taking this time to reflect deliberately on the harrowing tragedies of 3.11 and the ongoing recovery processes in and surrounding the Tohoku region of Japan, this meeting provides a forum for colleagues to show solidarity and exchange ideas, questions, and concerns related to issues that seem to have no immediate closure. Looking at the past to think about the future, this online conversation aims to facilitate thoughtful discussion about the triple disasters. In addition, it provides a space in which to consider how our multidisciplinary experiences in the historical, anthropological, and social studies of science, technology, environment, and medicine continue to inform our own understandings of issues, while also considering how this confluence of catastrophes presents a disciplinary rupture, so to speak, exposing the importance of familiarity with Asian languages and culture.

The format of the virtual conference will consist of a 48-hour period of open online dialogue and commenting in response to several essays that will be posted at the Fukushima Forum web site (please sign on at Scholars of any discipline are invited to contribute to this discussion on the Fukushima Forum blog, and/or in a more informal, conversational setting on the Fukushima Forum Google Groups site (please register at ). Registration is open and ongoing through 12 March. Participants are also encouraged to submit their own topics and essays for conversation as well as to share information; moderation in both instances will be provided throughout by the co-sponsors.

Throughout the two-day online conference, comments may touch upon these and other topics:

  • histories of tsunami, earthquakes, environment, geological sciences, ocean sciences, and nuclear science in Japan and in relation to other countries
  • the impact of the disasters on Japanese citizens and communities, neighboring countries
  • global and popular culture reactions to the disasters
  • Japanese nuclear power in light of history of atomic bomb and postwar US occupation
  • waste remediation and labor practices
  • government management/public policy of disasters in Japan and beyond
  • refugees and displacement, poverty, public health, and food safety in Japan
  • commemoration and historical memory
  • research agendas and research communities going forward

For more information, please contact Scott Gabriel Knowles at


Fukushima Forum consists of a group of scholars who have formed to exchange ideas around the science, technology, and society (STS) dimensions of the 3.11 disasters.

Teach 3.11 ( ) is a multi-language, online collaborative educational project that serves to introduce resources useful to “teach the disaster” through the lens of history of science, technology, environment, and medicine in global East Asia. Teach 3.11 is also a project of the Forum for the History of Science in Asia.

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