Call for Papers: STS Forum on the 2011 Fukushima / East Japan Disaster

call-for-papers-150-21STS Forum on the 2011 Fukushima / East Japan Disaster

Building a Transnational Research Agenda and Strategy for Engagement through a Social Scientific Understanding of Disasters and the Disaster Sciences


University of California Berkeley

12-14 May 2013

This serves as the call for papers and for participants to the inaugural meeting of the “STS Forum on Fukushima,” an academic forum for discussing the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear accident and the larger 2011 East Japan disaster. The goal of this forum is to build a transnational research agenda and community centered on this disaster, and to extend the social scientific and humanistic understanding of disasters and the disaster sciences; for this inaugural meeting, we also invite scholars studying other disasters (Chernobyl, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, 9/11, Deepwater Horizon, as well as less well-known disaster), especially those who are interested in understanding disasters and the events in Japan in historical and comparative perspective. All scholars representing, or interested in engaging in active dialogue with those in the field of Science and Technology Studies, broadly construed, are invited to apply.

The aim of the inaugural meeting in Berkeley will be to bring together a community of interested scholars, introduce each other to our work in a focused setting, and to begin defining viable research strategies and alliances for pursuing future work. We also hope to constitute an informal publications committee that will begin exploring and cultivating specific venues for publication, including journal special issues and edited compilations.

Participants &Scope

The 2-½ day workshop will be held on the University of California, Berkeley campus, hosted by its Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society. We expect to draw scholars from Japan, the United States, Asia and Europe, and elsewhere in the world. We invite both senior and junior scholars (including graduate students), and hope to offer sufficient subsidies to make it possible for all those who are interested and selected to attend. Attendance will be limited to 30 participants.

While the major focus of the inaugural meeting will be the 2011 disaster in Japan, as we have noted above, we also wish to invite scholars who are working on other disasters in order to develop and strengthen the conceptual foundations upon which to base our understanding of the events in Japan, and to help ensure that our dialogue integrates into the wider disaster and disaster science studies community.

Workshop Format

The inaugural meeting of the Forum will be conducted as a pre-circulated papers workshop. Work in progress is positively encouraged. All papers will be of limited length,* with the accompanying expectation that all participants will both read and comment on all papers or précis’ prior to the workshop. (*1800-3000 words, or else a 1800 word précis accompanied by a longer manuscript made available to all participants.) Open discussion around a group of papers, organized into themes, will occur following an introduction of the papers by assigned respondents. The workshop will conclude with an open discussion on research directions and publication strategies. Per the terms of our grant proposal, written responses and reflections compiled both during and after the event will be an integral and required component of this workshop.

Travel Subsidies

Through the generous support of our NSF workshop grant (SES-1230627), we will minimally offer full housing subsidies to all participants. It is our intent to provide additional subsidies based on need, with special set-asides for graduate students, junior, and minority scholars, and those traveling internationally for this event. (A separate travel subsidy request form will be mailed to you following your acceptance to the workshop.)

Application & Deadline

To apply, please submit a 300-500 word abstract, and a 1-2 page biographic summary (an NSF-style biosketch would be ideal). The materials should be sent to the program chair, Atsushi Akera, at (alternate: Applications are due by 7 January 2013, and will be reviewed by a program committee comprised of an international panel of scholars. Please feel free to contact the program chair for further information.

(p.s. if you encounter problems with RPI’s spam filter, please send the message to my alternate email account:, preferably with a quick note to this account indicating that you sent a message there since otherwise I don’t check that account regularly. – Thanks!)

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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