(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 certain big businesses. We will discuss debates and political questions surrounding major issues that have shaped the global environmental consciousness. These include 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 Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 and its aftermath.
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.
To raise awareness of environmental problems and their association with science and technology and big businesses. To be able to understand the subtleties and history of techno-environmental issues and follow public and academic debates about them. To develop friendly attitudes to nature. To motivate to get involved in the protection and preservation of the natural environment. To improve skills in conversation and writing.
|✔ Applicable||How instructors' work experience benefits the course|
|Has been running this and similar courses for many years.|
technology and the environment; industrial development and environmental degradation; ecologic crisis; environmentalism, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring; Lovelock's Gaia; Anthropocene,
|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 and Lovelock's Gaia theory||Read James Lovelock, "The Revenge of Gaia" (2006); View Al Gore, "An Inconvenient Truth" (2006).|
|Class 7||Local and global implications of Fukushima nuclear disaster (optional) Excursion to the Daigo Fukuryo Maru||View "Inside Japan's Nuclear Meltdown" (PBS, 2012); others|
To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.
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.