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Semester and Year SP 2008
Course Number K20.1340
Section 001
Days Mon
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


On August 6, 1945 the city of Hiroshima in Japan was leveled by the first atomic bomb. On August 9, the city of Nagasaki was leveled by the second bomb. It is estimated that between 210,000 and 270,000 people were killed, some immediately, some from the radiation days or months later, These estimates do not include more long-term impacts of the radiation, such as birth defects, or various cancers. How can we, as human beings, make sense of these events? How can we cope with, and represent unthinkable trauma? What are the politics of such representation? What processes of healing are possible through remembering? Is it important to represent such traumas, and if so, why? This course will explore a selection of Japanese historical, literary, cinematic, musical, and other venues in which this unrepresentable trauma was, and continues to be, indeed, represented. We will aim at exploring the processes of mourning, remembering, and representing collective cultural trauma. Readings will include: Michael Hogan, ed. Hiroshima in History and Memory, John Treat, Writing Ground Zero, Sigmund Freud, “Mourning and Melancholia,” Walter Benjamin, selections, and selected short fiction from Crazy Iris. We will view documentary and narrative films, including Black Rain.

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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