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Panels, Workshops & Events at STS-related Gatherings

(4S/HSS/SHOT/AAA/ICHOTEC/JSSTS/EASTS/PSA and other workshops held at STS related locations & venues)

Past events are listed below. The major events for 2013 are still TBA. Please send me a description and/or call for papers for any major event scheduled to take place at 4S, HSS, SHOT, and other “sts-related” conferences (


Other Events

We encourage the readers of this site to announce other relevant conferences, symposia, and events of interest to our community using the “comment” feature at the end of this post. (Please reserve comments on this page to event announcements.)


Past Events

Workshop @ 2012 SHOT Annual Meeting
(7 October 2012, Copenhagen)


A Forum on the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
and Other Disasters in Comparative Perspective


Co-Sponsored by the
SHOT Prometheans (Engineering) SIG / SHOT Asia Network / Teach 3.11
and held during the
Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) Annual Meeting

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Copenhagen, Denmark

Following the 2011 Cleveland SHOT/HSS/4S co-located meeting, a number of concerned scholars began the work of creating an open and sustained interdisciplinary forum for conversations about the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Dai Shinsai) and tsunami of March 11, 2011. This forum seeks to facilitate an examination of how disasters in historical and comparative perspective can help us to better understand and draw lessons from this disaster. Our hope is to help create a productive place for dialogue that integrates Japanese and non-Japanese perspectives while also balancing academic studies with eventual opportunities for outreach and policy engagement.

As participants in this project, the SHOT Prometheans, SHOT Asian Network, and Teach 3.11 (a project of the Forum for the History of Science in Asia) would like to organize a physical meeting of this forum during the Sunday morning* special-interest-group (SIG) time slot at the SHOT annual meeting in Copenhagen. (*This event may be 1/2 day or full day depending on the level of interest.) This meeting, offered in an interactive workshop format, will be directed primarily towards historical studies pertaining to Fukushima and the Higashi Nihon Dai Shinsai, and historical studies of other disasters that may help interpret and shed light on the events in Japan. Specifically, we are interested in papers that address:

  • The historical origins of the disaster in Japan, including, but not limited to the history of Japanese nuclear engineering, civil engineering, nuclear policy, energy policy, seismology, risk reduction, disaster mitigation and recovery.
  • Historical studies of other disasters, ranging from the most obvious comparisons, such as Chernobyl or the Kanto Dai Shinsai (1923 Great Kant­ō earthquake); to more remote accidents and natural events that speak to some aspect of either the origins or responses to the disaster in Japan.
  • Historical studies of relevant Japanese institutions, including Japanese ministries, state authority, and the strong corporatist traditions that may have contributed to the event.
  • The cultural, political, or economic dimensions of nuclear energy in Japan, and elsewhere as a point of comparison.
  • Any study, not necessarily historical, focusing on the social and cultural dimensions of responses to disasters.
  • Other relevant topics including especially conversations in Japan that are not visible on the international scene.

The workshop format will consist of pre-circulated papers (1000-1800 words in length) and prepared responses, open discussions around predetermined themes, and written responses and reflections submitted after the workshop. Members of the Prometheans, SHOT Asia Network, and Teach 3.11 will serve as the program committee for this event, and will work organize the papers received into coherent sessions. Works-in-progress, and submissions by graduate students as well as senior scholars, from any nation, are actively encouraged.

We ask those who are interested to signal your interest by sending us an email, with proposed title, preferably before March 17th so that we can make an initial determination as to the level of interest; the applications process will be open until June 1st, by which point we will need a firm commitment and a 300-word abstract from all participants. Pre-circulated papers will be due September 1st. Those interested in also presenting their material during the main SHOT conference are encouraged to do so. Please indicate to us that you wish to do so, so that we can organize a SIG sponsored session. Those seeking to do so should send us a full abstract along with SHOT’s normal 1-page biographical sketches (condensed CVs) by March 24th. The deadline for SHOT submissions is March 31st.

Please send emails signaling your interest with a proposed title of your paper to Atsushi Akera at


Preliminary Program
4S Meeting 2012 (October 17-20, Copenhagen)

A synopsis of these sessions can be found here.

Session Organizers
Scott Knowles,; Drexel University
Ryuma Shineha,; Graduate University for Advanced Studies

Session I:  3.11 and the Structures of Risk: Experts, Politics, and Social Vulnerability
Gabrielle Hecht,; University of Michigan (Chair/Discussant)

Experts’ Responsibility on 3.11
Yuko Fujigaki,; University of Tokyo

Investigating 3.11: Fukushima and the Politics of Expert Inquiry
Scott Knowles,; Drexel University

The “Structural Disaster” behind Success or Failure
Miwao Matsumoto,; University of Tokyo

Vulnerability and Inequality: A Case Study of the 3.11 Disaster
Ryuma Shineha,; Graduate University for Advanced Studies


Session II: Discourses of Disaster: Communication, Science, and Democracy in Post-3.11 Japan
Atsushi Akera,; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Chair/Discussant)

Politics of Risk Discourse on the Nuclear Disaster: Risk Communication and Beyond
Hideyuki Hirakawa,; Osaka University

Effective Nuclear Regulation: Design, Displacement, and Democratic Discourse
William J Kinsella,; North Carolina State University
Tudor B. Ionescu,; University of Stuttgart

Reality Marginalized: How Have Science and “Science” Used in Discourse about Low Dose Radiation Exposure?
Masashi Shirabe,; Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

What Can a Nuclear Disaster Prove about Nuclear Energy?: Nuclear Scientists and Robustness of Nuclear Discourse in Post 3.11 Japan
Kenji Ito,; Graduate University for Advanced Studies


Session III: Social Dynamics and Structures around Nuclear Technology: Pre- and Post-Fukushima Stories
Miwao Matsumoto,; University of Tokyo (Chair/Discussant)

Failure of the Japanese “Successful” Nuclear Program: Structural Problems Revealed by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident
Kohta Juraku,; University of Tokyo

The Fukushima Insight: How Disaster Changes Knowledge Production in Global Nuclear Energy
Sulfikar Amir,; Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Did Fukushima Mark the End of the “Nuclear Renaissance”? Analysis of Media Debates in Finland, France, and the UK
Markku Lehtonen,; University of Sussex

Nuclear Emergency Preparedness and Role of Local Governments in Japan: Post-Fukushima Reflections
Shin-Etsu Sugawara,; University of Tokyo

The Challenge of “Safe Levels” of Radiation after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Paul Etienne Marin JOBIN,; CEFC Taipei & University of Paris Diderot


Session IV: Citizen-Science: The 3.11 Disasters and Non-Experts in Action
Kohta Juraku,; University of Tokyo (Chair/Discussant)

Citizen Science and Credibility: Fukushima and Citizen Participation in Global Scientific Response
Ashley Rose Kelly,; North Carolina State University

Activities of Concerned Scientists and Engineers of Japan after the Fukushima Accident
Kotaro Kuroda,; Meijo University

Functions of Twitter after 3.11 Disaster: Deliberative Tool or Echo Chamber Apparatus?
Mikihito Tanaka,; Waseda University

The Nuclear Accident in Fukushima and Popular Views on Science in Japan
Toshinori Yamaki,; Tokyo Institute of Technology / Fukushima Prefectural Tamura High School


3.11 Virtual Confernce:
Looking Back to Look Forward

11-12 March 2012

An archived record of our original 3.11 Virtual Conference can also be found at this link.


Other Events

As noted above, we encourage the readers of this site to announce other relevant conferences, symposia, and events of interest to our community using the “comment” feature at the end of this post. (Please reserve comments on this page to event announcements.)

  1. Symposium & Exhibit, Oberling College
    9 March 2012; Exhibit during entire month of March

    During the month of March 2012, in remembrance of the Tohoku Earthquake and nuclear catastrophe, Oberlin Shansi and Oberlin College will be co-hosting a symposium and art exhibition about the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan. We hope that these events will provide a public space for a diversity of voices and points of view to engage the pressing issues that have emerged from this crisis., Please join us.

    The Fire that Doesn’t Go Out, Exhibition Organizing Committee, Exhibition: March 1-30, The Fire that Doesn’t Go Out will open on March 1st, 7:00 p.m., at The Baron Gallery in the East College Street Development, Oberlin. There will be a showing of Misato Yugi’s video animation, Red Dot Radiation Art, with a live score by the Cleveland group, SINUU. On March 8, the Art Department will host talks by Ellen Johnson Visiting Artists, Yuichiro Nishizawa (at noon in the Baron Gallery) and elin o’Hara slavick (at 7:00 p.m. in Hallock Auditorium). For a schedule of events and more information on the exhibit, please go to our blog at:, The symposium, Fukushima: Lessons Learned?, will be held on March 9 and 10 in the Norman C. Craig Lecture Hall.
    The symposium will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 9 with a memorial for the victims of the Tohoku disaster by Leading Edge Speaker, Akira Tashiro, the award-winning editor and reporter for the Hiroshima-based Chugoku Shimbun. This will be followed by a keynote address, Dilemmas of Nuclear Energy, delivered by Dr. Kennette Benedict (OC ’69), publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. After a break for dinner, the first panel, Compound Catastrophe and Nuclear Aftermath, will begin at 7:00 p.m.

    A complete list of events and detailed information about the symposium schedule and speakers are available at:

    Due to limited seating, registration is recommended and is now available on the symposium website., —

  2. Conference, Cornell University
    11-12 March 2012

    Cornell we will be holding a conference on the one-year anniversary of the 3/11 disasters. See or The conference will bring together academics working in different fields of study, including legal studies, health and environmental studies, intellectual history, NGO work, anthropology, and others. Though the Fukushima situation is not the lone focus, it is certainly central. For a complete schedule of the two-day conference see Finally, the whole of the conference will be Webcast live (and available streamed later) at the following Web addresses:

    Sunday March 11:

    Monday March 12:

    Also, I hope that people on this forum are also taking advantage of the many articles that have been appearing in Japan Focus ( It has been one of the most consistent English-language media sources for coverage of the Fukushima nuclear incident history and the contemporary situation.

    Joshua Young
    Cornell East Asia Program
    Ithaca, New York

  3. Colloque International–Les Chantiers due Nucléaire
    27-29 Juin 2012
    Interroger le nucléaire par les sciences humaines et sociales–Le colloque interdisciplinaire, “Les chantiers du nucléaire”, se propose d’ouvrir un chantier, celui des relations entre le nucléaire et les SHS. Il s’agira de faire un bilan des recherches existantes et de capitaliser sur cet acquis conséquent, en examinant les approches choisies, les méthodes mises en œuvre, les difficultés rencontrées et in fine les aspects non retenus ou non analysés de cet objet à multiples facettes. Dans un second temps, nous souhaiterions interroger la pertinence des apports des SHS aux débats contemporains sur l’industrie nucléaire et des politiques destinées à l’encadrer.
    Vous pouvez télécharger l’appel à communications complet à gauche.

  4. Just for your information. We are the University of the Philippines (UP) will host commemorative activities for the 3.11 disaster. We began the activities yesterday. For your record, please find the schedules and description of these events which the Embassy of Japan is spearing in cooperation with UP.


    DATE: MARCH 11, 2012
    TIME: 9:00 – 11:00 AM



    FOR interested parties please log on to for pre-registration

  5. Call for Papers “Going Critical: 70 Years of Nuclear Energy”
    5-7 November 2012

    The History of Science Unit (HSU) of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra invites papers for the workshop “Going Critical: 70 Years of Nuclear Energy.” It will take place at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, November 5th-7th, 2012.

    Interdisciplinary and comparative approaches are encouraged. Please submit an abstract of approximately 300 words and a short CV to Albert Presas i Puig ( by April 30, 2012.

    Seventy years ago, a select team of physicists working in secrecy at the University of Chicago carefully assembled the first reactor, Chicago Pile-1, a massive “atomic pile” of graphite bricks and uranium fuel which went critical on December 2, 1942. Under the direction of Enrico Fermi, the first man-made nuclear reactor came on line. Within the Manhattan Project aiming at building the world’s first atomic bomb, the nuclear pioneers succeeded in controlling a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. This successful initiation of a chain-reacting pile was important not only for its help in assessing the properties of fission – needed for understanding the internal workings of an atomic bomb – but also because it would serve as a pilot plant for the power reactors.

    Thereby begun the controlled release of nuclear energy. The atom bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 ushered the world into a new age of energy research. At that time, several nations began their own construction of nuclear reactors, primarily for military use, though research was also being undertaken for civilian electricity generation. December 1953 the US Administration started the “Atoms for Peace” program for the peaceful implementation of nuclear power. In 1955 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were created in order to promote a safe and sustainable nuclear powered world.

    The birth and diffusion of nuclear science and technology are probably among the most far-reaching and significant changes in the organizational forms, social and economic role, structure, and contents of science and technology during the 20th century. The complexity and demands of the nuclear energy option in terms of technology, industry, economics and politics constitute strong enough reasons to examine it from a wide variety of perspectives. The aim of interdisciplinary historical reflection on the development of the atomic programs which is proposed in this Workshop is to make a paradigmatic contribution to the generation of a framework of analysis for the assessment of new policies of technological development in general, and of that of energy in particular.

    From this point of view, it is important to think over the nature of the nuclear development programs between the 1950s and the 1980s in order to determine their internal dynamics, to establish their defining characteristics and to be able to bring the results to the present-day discussion. The aim of the Workshop is to provide a comparative historical and systematic study of the development and impact of nuclear programs in those European countries which hoped to reach higher levels of industrial and economic development by fostering nuclear power during the post-war period. This Workshop will help to show the historical character of processes of technological development, as well as the need to deploy co-ordinated economic theories and models in order to understand historical processes of techno-scientific and industrial development in contemporary societies. Because of the characteristics of nuclear energy, the results of this Workshop will be of great interest to politicians, the administrators of scientific and industrial policies, sociologists of science and technology, historians of technology and science and of economics, and general historians of 20th-century Europe.

    Target questions to consider (among others):

    From the point of view of scientific innovation, how was the need to develop nuclear energy justified? Can differences be identified, depending on the political context and the areas of influence of the superpowers?

    What role international relations played in the transfer of nuclear technology?

    What was the impact of nuclear programs on the scientific and technical development of the respective nations? What was their importance in industry and economic development?

    How did nuclear programs influence scientific and technological training systems?

    How did the countries receiving the new models of scientific development restructure their scientific-technological fabrics to adapt to the new demands?

    What roles were played by such groups as scientists, technicians, politicians and administrators of development? How did scientists and technicians gain acceptance for their claims and findings?What is revealed by comparative studies of the political contexts and areas of influence of the superpowers during the Cold War?

    What mechanisms were needed, apart from efforts made in training and innovation, to ensure stable economic development? How was this achieved?
    What parameters are common to all of the projects? Where can differences and particularities be identified? Can a general analytical framework be derived for the study of these and other cases?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 3.11 Virtual Conference: Looking Back to Look Forward (11-12 March 2012) | Teach 3.11
  2. NSF Award for the STS Forum on Fukushima « An STS Forum on Fukushima
  3. An STS Forum on Fukushima

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