(Science, Technology, and the Environment since the Mid-20th Century)
This course will evaluate major environmental problems since the mid-20th century, with a special emphasis on Japan, while tracing the growth of environmental awareness and environmentalism worldwide. It will concentrate on the relationship between environmental degradation and industrial development, and examine the threats to the environment and public health posed by big businesses. We will discuss about the debates surrounding major environmental issues that have shaped the global environmental consciousness, the environmental movement, and politics, including Minamata and other industrial pollution cases in Japan, the dangers of pesticides publicized by Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962), global warming, and nuclear energy, with a special reference to the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.
The course raises students' awareness of environmental problems and their association with science and technology, economic growth, and corporate businesses; and give students opportunities to explore and evaluate these problems critically from multiple angles. It also aims to help students improve their conversational and writing skills.
Raised awareness of environmental problems and their association with science and technology and big businesses.
Able to understand the subtleties and history of techno-environmental issues and follow public and academic debates about them.
Attitudes to respect nature.
Motivated to get involved in the protection and preservation of the natural environment.
Improved conversational and writing skills.
technology and the environment; industrial development and environmental degradation; environmentalism
|Specialist skills||Intercultural skills||✔ Communication skills||✔ Critical thinking skills||✔ Practical and/or problem-solving skills|
Conducted in a seminar format. Class attendance and participation in discussions are essential. Students are expected to: 1) read the assigned reading prior to the class, 2) participate in classroom discussions, 3) write short papers, and 4) attend field trips
|Course schedule||Required learning|
|Class 1||The Anthropocene: an overview of science, technology, and the environment||View "Endangered Planet"|
|Class 2||Economic growth and the environment in Japan: Minamata||Read Jun Ui, "Industrial Pollution in Japan" (1992)|
|Class 3||Minamata and Japan's industrial pollution||Read Keibo Oiwa & Masato Ogata, "Rowing the Eternal Sea: the Story of a Minamata Fisherman"(2001)|
|Class 4||DDT or the story of a "miracle pesticide," and "Silent Spring"||Read Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring" (19664); View "Rachel Carson's Silent Spring" (1999)|
|Class 5||"Silent Spring," and Lynn White's thesis on "Ecological Crisis"||Read Lynn White, jr., “Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science 155 (1967): 1203-7|
|Class 6||Global warming||View Al Gore, "An Inconvenient Truth" (2006)|
|Class 7||Global warming and Lovelock's Gaia theory||Read James Lovelock, "The Revenge of Gaia" (2006)|
|Class 8||Local and global implications of Fukushima nuclear disaster||View "Inside Japan's Nuclear Meltdown" (PBS, 2012)|
|Class 9||Excursion to the Daigo Fukuryo Maru||None|
Main Readings:Jun Ui (ed.), Industrial Pollution in Japan, 1992; Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962; Lynn White, jr., “Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science 155 (1967); Keibo Oiwa & Masato Ogata, Rowing the Eternal Sea: the Story of a Minamata Fisherman, 2001; Akio Mishima, Bitter Sea: The Human Cost of Minamata Disease (1992); Masanori Kaji, "Role of experts and public participation in pollution control: the case of itai-itai disease in Japan, " Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics, 12 (2012): 99-111; Sharon B. McGrayne, Prometheans in the Lab, 2001; James Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia, 2006.
Audio-visual material include:Endangered Planet 1950-95 (1999); Rachel Carson's Silent Spring [Neil Goodwin, 1999); Al Gore, Inconvenient Truth (2006); Into Eternity (Michael Madson, 2010) ; Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown (PBS Frontline, 2012)
Evaluation will be based on class participation and writing assignments (short essays)
Bektas Yakup : bektas.y.aa[at]m.titech.ac.jp
One hour after each class. Other times by appointment.