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3.11 Virtual Conference–Thanks for Participating!!

March 12, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

A sincere note of thanks for your interest and participation in our 3.11 Virtual Conference.

I am very pleased to report that over the period March 10-12 the site registered more than 2,500 page views; among these more than 1/3 came from Japan, a bit less than half came from the United States, and the remainder were drawn from the U.K., India, Israel, France, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, Taiwan, Germany, and Singapore.  I think it’s fair to say this was an international conference!

Additionally, membership in the Fukushima Forum more than doubled over the duration of the conference.  If you have not yet joined this group, please consider doing so, and keep up with our plans for future exchanges of ideas, publications, and physical conference meetings.  More here:

I hope you found the essays and the comments useful tools towards a deeper understanding of the analytical challenges ahead as STS scholars work to make sense of, and teach about the 3.11 disasters.  Speaking for myself, I found the exchange of ideas led me into areas (food safety, DIY Geiger counter communities, for example) that I would not have known about otherwise.  As an author it was very useful to have the perspectives of my peers.  I hope that in some perhaps small way this virtual gathering has channeled the collective energies of its participants into work that will factor into the prevention of future Fukushimas, and that further exposes the ongoing struggles of Japanese disaster victims.  Academics have a responsibility to take on these issues, issues that are fundamentally about democracy, poverty, human rights, and the ever-expanding need to keep a critical eye on the dangers of science+technology in the modern world.  Disasters reflect our values–they happen by design, but not one generally made by those who suffer the most.

I think that the melding of Japanese-STS scholarship with disaster-STS work was productive, forced many of us to stretch intellectually (speaking for myself, anyway), and shows one way forward for the utility of comparative disaster-STS research and collaboration.  In that spirit I wish to applaud Scott Frickel and Kim Fortun’s “Case for Disaster Science and Technology Studies.”  I know many of us are convinced by their “case,” and wish to be on hand as it goes ahead.

I also hope that many of these essays and comments will be translated into Japanese.  IF you can help with this, please be in touch with me as soon possible.

Some additional thanks: this idea originated among the planning group of the Fukushima Forum early in 2012.  Knowing that we would not be able to convene a physical meeting of scholars until later this year, we did not want the one-year anniversary of 3.11 to pass without an intense exchange of research, ideas, and perspectives.  Thus was born the “Virtual Conference” concept.  I wish to thank my co-coordinators Atsushi Akera and Lisa Onaga for their goodwill and hard work on this project, as well as our team of moderators, including Atsushi and Lisa, Kristina Buhrman, and Tyson Vaughan.

PLEASE NOTE that the essays will remain up and the comments sections open for the next month.  So, if you enjoyed what you saw here please spread the word, use the site in your classes and public events, pass along the essays to interested colleagues, join the Fukushima Forum, and collaborate with Teach 3.11.


Scott Gabriel Knowles
Chair, 3.11 Virtual Conference

12 March 2012

sgk23 ‘at’

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