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Opportunities for Exchange and Collaboration

4. What can we do to strengthen the bridge between scholars working (on Fukushima-East Japan / disasters) in Japan and those studying disasters in the US, Europe, and elsewhere? Intellectually, theoretically, and empirically, where are the opportunities for us to learn more from what others are doing and how they understand and frame their analyses?

  1. It would be helpful to have a list of key questions and key works that inform disaster studies in different regions. Though everyone at this conference shares some connection to STS, this can often mean quite different things in practice. So in order to better understand each other, I would like to know more about what are considered central questions and core analytical framings that others are using.

  2. Monamie Bhadra permalink

    Chris took the words out of my mouth.

    • Scott Knowles permalink

      Agreed. Perhaps we should use this website as a platform on which to collect these core questions. Also, I think brief blog posts could be generated that might sketch out bibliographic/historiographical traditions. This is interdisciplinary work, and as such, there is a LOT to read and digest.

  3. Aya Okada permalink

    I wonder if we could hold a workshop where we learn more about researches does by scholars in Japan, particularly those who do not have the language capability to present their work in English. There have been countless number of surveys and researches that we can all benefit from, and I feel that there are more roles that we, as a group of scholars bridging the two societies, can play. Perhaps holding a workshop in Japan, with an interpreter. I strongly believe in the power of local research, and the importance of learning from them.

  4. Tamiyo Kondo permalink

    I think that the bridge to strengthen is not between countries but academic filed, such as engineering, social science and sociology.
    I belong to engineering field. My motivation and approach for research is to improve the existed recovery planning system, policy and its process by academic research.
    In order to understand and learn from each other, I think it is significant to understand the objective and motivation for research before talking about the contents and research question to form.
    How does your research contribute to improve the disaster reduction (mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery) is first to be addressed.

  5. Daniel Aldrich permalink

    Kondo-sensei’s point that she looks for her research to improve disaster reduction is a good one – I wonder how other scholars in the workshop envision this approach? Do we see our job as having practical implications?

  6. Aya Okada permalink

    Another thought: In order to bridge among countries as well as disciplines, our group can create a list of literature/surveys/studies on Fukushima and those that contribute to our understanding of Fukushima disaster.

  7. Cathryn Carson permalink

    I wish we could address the challenges for exchange across the boundary “personally affected” / “not so personally affected.” This overlaps with (I know it’s not identical with) the gap between scholars in Japan and elsewhere. I’m a little uncomfortable with how much we’ve been having conversations about Japan without more direction (intervention, resistance) from scholars in Japan.

    • Scott Knowles permalink

      It’s true that explicit conversation (even sharing personal thoughts) on trauma and loss has been too absent from this meeting–how might we open up the “personally connected” conversation?

  8. Kyoko Sato permalink

    I think it would be productive to explicitly address some of the issues of translation that came up throughout the workshop. The concepts like memories, blame, or even diaster do not neatly correspond to Japanese words one on one; the nuance of anzen vs. anshin or 原子力村 can also be lost in translation. The two words “nuclear” and “atomic” do not clearly map on to 核 and 原子力 in actual usage. Also, I’m very curious about each researcher’s personal experience: How do you address issues of radiation risks during your field work? What sources do you rely on? What was your emotional experience as you conducted field work?

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