Steven W. Collins
Combines study at UW-Bothell with seminars and field trips organized by the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences faculty or the faculties of host institutions in foreign countries. Topics include politics, political economy, public policy, business, and literature, and the arts.
Japan stands alone among the nations of the world in having experienced nuclear horror in its two most frightening forms: bombs raining down from the sky, and radioactive fallout blanketing the landscape after explosions at a civilian nuclear power plant. These disasters stand as bookends to modern Japanese history: the first helping define the nation's postwar identity, the second shattering people's faith in national institutions and in the promise of technology.
BIS 480 explores the path from Hiroshima in 1945 to Fukushima in 2011 through the lenses of technology, politics, and popular culture. Five days of class meetings at UWB will be followed by 2 weeks of residence at Ehime University in Matsuyama, Japan, where students will participate in seminars, visit local cultural and historic sites, and engage Japanese students and citizens on questions concerning nuclear power, energy policy, the response to last year's earthquake and tsunami, and prospects for the country's future. Students will also participate in cultural excursions and language lessons.
Student learning goals
Understand the circumstances behind the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the immediate and long-term effects on the residents of those cities, and the implications for Japanís postwar reconstruction.
Understand the evolution of Japan's energy policy, especially the politics behind the decisions to commit the country to a strong reliance on nuclear power.
Understand and assess the events leading up to and following the nuclear reactor meltdowns at Fukushima Daichi after last year's earthquake and tsunami.
Understand, at a level appropriate for a general audience, how nuclear energy is harnessed to build bombs and nuclear power reactors.
Deepen knowledge of national and local culture, language, society, and residentsí attitudes toward nuclear power and the Fukushima disaster through a 2-week stay at Ehime University in Matsuyama.
General method of instruction
Video, lecture, and discussion during five class meetings prior to travel to Japan; may include field trips to museums, power plants, or other relevant sites. Classes will generally meet four hours each day, 1-5 pm, August 29, 30 and 31, and September 4 and 5. An all-day field trip is possible on September 4.
Course readings will be posted around two weeks before the first class meeting. Students should endeavor to complete as many of the readings as possible before the first meeting.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments will stimulate all senses and modes of learning, including discussion, film, lecture, experiencing of Japanese culture and society on the ground, and talking with Japanese and others. Visits to nuclear power plants, museums, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and other venues may also be included. Students will demonstrate mastery through informed and sustained engagement in all aspects of the course, an exam given in class, regular postings to the course discussion board, short written report and presentation while at Ehime, and a reflective final essay.
See syllabus for details.