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


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.

  1. Discussion/in class writings           35%
  2. theory review paper                          10%
  3. Film paper                                          10%
  4. Final project                                       30%
  5. The Class we didn’t do                     15%