March 29, 2004
We recently wrote to a small group of people to introduce the Nuclear Education Project. Thanks to their responses, we have taken the first steps in launching the project with the creation of new and updated websites, and setting in motion a number of exciting new projects. We write again to ask your assistance and support, and to apprise you of a range of activities that point toward the sixtieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, activities that we hope will contribute to increased awareness and understanding of nuclear issues and a surge of coordinated anti-nuclear weapons activism over the coming several years and beyond.
In recent years, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and Nagasaki Mayor Iccho Itoh have called on teachers and activists around the world to initiate courses on the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the anti-nuclear movement, the plight of the Hibakusha, and the problems of war and peace in the nuclear age. Their call has been met by a flourishing of courses and other educational activities in schools, universities, and communities throughout the world.
To help coordinate and publicize these activities, we have now launched and updated a number of websites with links to one another and to other outlets that provide resources useful to teachers, students, citizens, public servants, and anti-nuclear activists interested in issues pertaining to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the world of nuclear threats and proliferation that those bombings inaugurated. We envision a broadly inclusive approach that will incorporate syllabi and materials touching on nuclear history, nuclear culture, nuclear policy, and efforts at arms control and disarmament. The websites will eventually expand to include graphic and sound (video, tape) resources that a reader/listener can tap into directly, course syllabi, printed texts such as statements by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and other world leaders, pertinent historical documents, and relevant articles.
We particularly wish to draw your attention to the selection of syllabi that have recently been posted below and a selection of nuclear-related articles that can be found at http://japanfocus.org/atomic.html.
We ask that you make this information available to colleagues interested in the atomic bomb and nuclear issues, and in particular that you send us information about syllabi, including your own, as well as suggestions of pertinent texts to post. We also request that you contact others who may be in a position to contribute to this effort. We are eager to extend the syllabi to course designs and teaching ideas for K-12 and ask your help in providing leads for this.
Peter Kuznick, Uday Mohan, and Mark Selden are currently selecting classic articles on the debate over the decision to use nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and another set of articles on the human consequences of the atomic bomb. These will be displayed at a number of websites including http://www.american.edu/nsi and http://japanfocus.org/category.asp?id=66. We envision extending this effort to include articles on other important topics and to make available bibliographies of relevant books and articles.
We also wish to report progress on other fronts. With the cooperation of the Hiroshima Peace Museum, John Dower and his MIT colleagues are beginning to investigate the creation of a special website exhibit of hibakusha drawings. The project is an ambitious one that will make available not only the images but translation of the texts and commentary that will make the material accessible to students, teachers, researchers and other readers.
The Japan Focus, MIT, and American University websites are being coordinated with the website maintained by Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and his associates. The sites will link to and complement one another.
We will cooperate in numerous ways with the Hiroshima Peace Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, whose extensive materials, both print and graphics, are among the most important resources. Our project will, of course, link to their websites at
http://www1.city.nagasaki.nagasaki.jp/na-bomb/museum/museume01.html as well as to websites of other museums, centers, institutes, and organizations involved in nuclear education.
Central to this undertaking is our desire to share with teachers at all educational levels, who are interested in offering courses on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or on other nuclear issues, with syllabi and resources that colleagues have developed and used as a basis for constructing their own courses. We hope that anybody who searches Google under Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the atomic bomb, or nuclear war will find his or her way to our sites and there discover compelling visual and verbal testimony as well as other pertinent information.
We plan, in the future, to incorporate other vehicles for exploring the human dimensions of the atomic bombings. For example, the Iri and Toshi Maruki Hiroshima murals as well as the extensive photographs documenting the atomic devastation could be used in the same way. We are looking into various logistical and rights problems whose solution should allow us to move ahead on each of these projects.
As part of our effort to reach a broader public, we will be assisting interested parties in organizing lectures and conferences on various aspects of nuclear history and policy. To that end, we seek names of scholars willing to be part of our speakers bureau, a brief c.v. (maximum one page) and a list of the topics on which they are willing to speak.
We write to inform you of these ideas and to invite your suggestions. We also ask that you send to Peter and Mark your own course syllabi and the names and e-ddresses of others who have taught relevant courses who should receive this information, together with all suggestions for gathering and disseminating essential information. We welcome active participation by scholars and individuals who share our sense of the urgent need to launch such a Nuclear Education Project at this critical and dangerous moment in world history.
Tadatoshi Akiba, John Dower, Peter Kuznick, Mark Selden