NYU EAST-UA 950 006

Fukushima Syllabus


Course Goals

This course has three goals. One, to introduce you to the historical record of the triple disaster of 3/11. Two, to introduce you to the emerging field of disaster studies. Three, to get you to start reading texts of all kinds for the categories and concepts that a given text uses to think through a “disaster.”

By the end of the course you not only be familiar with major disasters, and the responses to major disasters, in modern Japanese history. You will also be able to discuss and add to the growing discipline of disaster studies, including the cultural, historical, social, economic, scientific, and even existential nature of what we call a “disaster.”

There will be a final group project with presentations in the last two weeks of class. See Grading, below, for details of the assignments and final grades.


Required Texts

  1. Kai Erikson, A New Species of Trouble
  2. Tatsuta Kazuto, Ichi-F
  3. Spencer Weart, The Rise of Nuclear Fear


The early part of the course will be reading, short writing, and discussion together as a class. Alongside this work you will also need to be crafting your topic, research question, sources, and finally a thesis. These will be due throughout the semester and make up a significant part of your final grade. In addition you will be graded on short in-class writing assignments and discussion participation.

  • Discussion / In-Class Writings 35%
  • Theory Review Paper 10%
  • Film Paper 10%
  • Final Project 30%
  • The Class We Didn’t Do 15%

Office Hours

Office hours: Weds 11-1 & by appt.

Robert Stolz
Associate Professor, East Asian Studies
Faculty of Arts and Science
19 University Place #508
New York University
Email: robert.stolz@nyu.edu


Sept 10
Course Introduction

Sept 17
What Happened?

Sept 24
Intro to Disasters

Oct 1
Interrogating the “Accident”

Oct 9

Oct 15
Enviro-Technical-Political Disasters

Oct 22
The Nuclear Village

Oct 29
Fear, Monsters, and The Return of the Repressed 1

Nov 5
Fear, Monsters, and the Return of the Repressed 2

Nov 12
Hiroshima, the Cold War, and the Return of the Repressed 3

Nov 19
Protests and Movements

Nov 26
Wrap-up and New, and Old, Directions

Dec 3 & 10 In-class Project Presentations

Take-Home Assignment