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Closing Reflections-Question 2

How is our work productive for the next generation of young scholars (in Japan, US and Europe, and elsewhere)?

  1. Daniel Aldrich permalink

    Many young scholars around the world often feel the need to narrow in on very focused areas of research. This kind of interdisciplinary, international forum provides us with the chance to stretch beyond our narrow academic disciplines to think of ways that we can not only expand our own research focus but to include new ways of collaboration and research as well.

  2. There is a joint NSF/JSPS program (summer) for Japanese and US researchers that might be used to create a program/workshop which would bring together younger participants to work on common research issues. Language would remain an issue for doing work in Japan but this remains a possibility.

    There are summer programs run by the U.S. Department of Education under the Fulbright-Hays rubric which could be used for a similar purpose (Group Projects is the generic label used). I have reviewed proposals from the New Mexico School of Mines and similar organizations that garnered very favorable reviews.

    One possible (and certainly desirable) outcome for American students would be a recognition of the need to really learn a language in order to get at developments in Japanese society, culture and history.

  3. Are there similar programs in Japan?

  4. Nicolas Sternsdorff permalink

    Scholarship is a cumulative endeavor, and hopefully this will prove a productive line of inquiry. Often times disciplines grow when they borrow inspiration from another discipline, and bringing together sts and disaster studies can be one of those couplings. I think that one of the most productive areas of research is to look at disaster managers as a group of experts (or epistemic community), and apply some of the tools of STS to that. Also, disasters often involve the circulation of scientific knowledge (will radiation hurt me, what happens with asbestos, etc.), and looking at the intersection of the chaotic environment in the immediate aftermath of a disaster together with how scientific knowledge moves (and what kind of science moves) could be productive for future scholars.

  5. Yasuhito Abe permalink

    This workshop created a communications space in which a wide variety of scholars and policymakers discussed the March 11 disaster. It should be a great idea to keep encouraging the dialogue between scholars and policymakers, which could be productive for both future scholars and policymakers.

  6. I see the potential here for enhanced collaboration!

    I also would like to recapitulate the concern that was voiced by other researchers during the workshop about translation and the way in which we position ourselves through ‘language practices’. If we do not create strong channels of exchange with researchers from Japan (some of us already have those links, other do not), it might be difficult to advance the project of an international and transdisciplinary STS forum (on Fukushima).

    A good way to provide incentives to a new generations of scholars is to overcome the language barrier and find ways to collaborate across national scholarly traditions (in my own field, the highly visible and effective boundaries between US Anthropology versus British Anthropology, Japanese Anthropology, and Brazilian Anthropology, etc.).

  7. STS forum organizer kindly gave me travel grant to attend this forum.
    I agree with Danile’s comment.
    Parcicularly in scientific and engineering field, I tent to set narrow research questions which are required by peer-reviewed research journals.
    However, by attending this forum, I could relativized my reseach in interdisciplinary, international perspective, what is my reseach strength and what is needed more.

  8. Aya Okada permalink

    As one of the young ones, it is encouraging just to know that a group like ours – consisted of researchers from multiple disciplines and multiple cultural background – exists. I think it’s very important to keep the group active, and to attract incoming young scholars. I also believe both financial and peer support is particularly important and helpful for graduate students and junior faculty.

  9. Norio permalink

    Attracting young NEW researcher in this field is really work for developing sustainable research community. Workshop and field tour would attract young researcher from all over the world.

  10. Rethy Chhem permalink

    1. To engage young hard scientits, young professionals (engineers, doctors, other pratcitionners) to open up to social sciences and STS approach through collaborative teaching and research activities with social scientists and STS experts. In order words, engage hard scientists and young professionals to consider practicing science in societal context.

    2. Organize forum for young scientists from both hard and social sciences to create an environment of collaborative work early in their training and career stages…in order to foster a culture of inter and trans-disciplinary activities in the future.

  11. Jen Schneider permalink

    I think a number of the papers that were contributions to the forum did a really nice job of contextualizing Fukushima within Disaster STS, and asked important questions about gaps, reflexivity, and ways forward. I would think these would be important conceptual frameworks that “younger” scholars might use as they push forward (and they will of course question and reshape those frameworks!). In a more instrumental sense, I have a serious commitment to writing with graduate students, and know that many others in this group do as well. I would hope that some of those types of collaborations will emerge from this meeting.

  12. The events we’re studying are timely and have immediate (as well as long-term) practical implications. This is s benefit for young scholars in that it provides motivation, a sense of value, and a frame for contextualizing their work. I was pleased not only to see how many new scholars are involved with the forum, but also with the quality and sophistication of their contributions. Write on, people!

  13. Laura Beltz Imaoka permalink

    It was very encouraging as a young scholar coming from an oft distanced corner of the humanities to engage with researchers from a variety of disciplines and places around the world. It provided reflection on the insularity of academic disciplines and the need to not only peer over the dividers but to go to the water cooler and engage in conversation. The key is to keep the conversation going in some formative way and I believe most of us are encouraged to do so. I hope, as I begin dissertating, participants will not begrudge questions coming via email.

  14. The active participation of PhD candidates at this forum was one of the thing I have particularly enjoyed. Now I am thinking how I will bring this experience of intelectual sharing for my teaching with students of Japanese and East Asian Studies at Paris University. Their motivation to study the language, culture and society of Japan, China, Korea etc is of course not disasters like Fukushima. I would assume on the contrary that most of them have a strong tendency to deny such issues, prefering mangas, cinema or literature etc. But precisely, these could be interesting media to discuss with them issues like “radiation fear” within the context post-3.11 Japan, or “nuclear safety” in other East Asian societies.

  15. Ryuma Shineha permalink

    First is publication of article, book, and report….
    Second is teaching the 3.11 from various perspectives.

    Currently I teach the topics, discussions, and basic information on the 3.11 for undergraduate student, I feel that they want more information and discussions.

    In addition, I think that visiting the site will give a lot of implications for next generations. Thus, making funding for travel to the site seems to be important task…

  16. Monamie Bhadra permalink

    I think Disaster STS can serve as a possible intellectual home for the next generation of scholars interestedin studying the many, many dimensions of disasters. The challenge is to keep DSTS interdisciplinary, linguistically flexible, and not overly codified.

  17. Reiko Hasegawa permalink

    I cannot agree more with Rethy’s comments. In addition, it would be great to include more PhD students or young researchers from Japan as observers so as for them to get familiarized with international research communities and improve their communication (including language) skills.

  18. Scott Knowles permalink

    The interdisciplinary nature of this work invites collaboration–collaborations that involve scholars at different stages of career development will serve the purpose of supporting a rising generation, particularly when grant funding is involved.

  19. Charlotte permalink

    In a theoretical perspective I would say that we need to define more our relations with the “traditional” Disasters Studies. What does the DSTS perspective allows us to do? Why should young researchers engage with our theoretical framework?
    I also agree with the importance of organizing international discussions between students/scholars using existing founding channels; as well as the importance of encouraging multilingualism and multiculturalism (in other words our capacities of ‘translation’ – a good exemple during the workshop emerged when talking about the time of the disaster) as part of our research core competences.

  20. I heartily endorse the comments above. Establishing precedents and fora (informal communities as well as formally institutionalized mechanisms) for cross-boundary collaboration, whether those boundaries be betwixt disciplines or languages, is extremely productive. Also, by building this academic community and building support for similar endeavors, ultimately we can influence the distribution of resources to concretely support the work of younger researchers.

  21. Karena Kalmbach permalink

    As the field of disaster studies is truly international and interdisciplinary, it is important to provide spaces for exchange of work and ideas that lie outside the established national and disciplinary circles. In my opinion, the Copenhagen and Berkeley workshops were wonderful examples how such spaces should look like – also in the way that the abstracts, papers, and discussions were made public online so that people not attending the workshops had access to these works, too. The idea to regularly hold kind of ‘disaster session’ in international conferences such as 4S, SHOT, ICHSTM, ASEH, ESEH, etc. seems very promising to me as these sessions would not only pay contribution to the internationality and interdisciplinarity of disaster studies but also better integrate this field in the established academic forums of its most closest academic disciplines.

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