Members of the Teach311 + COVID-19 Collective (www.TeachCOVID-19.org) include educators, researchers, artists, students, and survivors representing a wide range of countries, languages, and disciplines. Together, we focus on understanding disasters, past and unfolding, through communication and empathy. Our goal is to provide and curate a multilingual collection of teaching resources focusing on the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan and on the global COVID-19 pandemic, but also dealing more broadly with experiences of disaster. We believe that efforts of communication and translation are key to learning.
The Teach311 + COVID-19 Collective (www.TeachCOVID-19.org) consists of educators, researchers, artists, students, and survivors spanning disciplinary and linguistic boundaries who study and teach about disasters. The Collective uses a collaborative process of research, learning and teaching to empathically inquire into crises of the past.
The work undertaken by this collective seeks to understand both the endurance and fragility of wisdom alongside the actions that constrain or mobilize scientific and technical knowledge. These objectives are guided by the original remit to examine the past in order to make meaning out of the enduring effects of and recovery from March 11, 2011, the disastrous aftermath of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters that occurred in Japan. Having begun with the support of Forum for the History of Science in Asia and SHOT Asia Network, the Collective continues this work in partnership with Nanyang Technology University (Singapore) and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG). Now the editorial team consists of both veterans and newcomers, reflecting an interdisciplinary voice that bridges histories of science, technology, environment, medicine, religion, and area studies. Furthermore, this voice carries a tenor that intersects with matters of gender, race, and ethnicity as they pertain to understanding and working through disasters in the here and now.
We regard the process of conducting research as inherently one of learning. This perspective guides our strategic approach to bring students and lifelong learners into greater proximity with scholarly work, and thus share our own learning process. The materials presented on this website thus facilitate teaching about disaster histories empathically in the present––and, in turn, sharing those disaster stories and building a path toward a better shared future.
The creation of pedagogically enriching material is carried through the Teach311 + COVID-19 Collective as students and scholars learn together—and with respect for those who have lived through disasters and endured trauma. Research and outreach are organized in tandem, around the goal of comprehending historical disasters in global Asia and beyond. The relevance of the past guides this collective inquiry even as we all are living and working with the current pandemic crisis. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Collective’s Teach311 + COVID-19 website has become the motor powering the Education stream of the MPIWG project History of Science ON CALL, which collates and disseminates educational resources related to COVID-19. In addition, the collaborations stemming from the Collective help to locate and responsibly amplify and learn from the voices of students and scholars located in the Global South or areas challenged by censorship, in order to help increase solidarity within and for the humanities.
Lisa Onaga and Aaron S. Moore, “Introduction: Searching for the Historical Roots of 11 March 2011,” Technology and Culture 58, no. 1 (2017): 154–58.
Lisa Onaga, “Teach 3.11: Participatory Educational Project Puts the Kanto-Tōhoku Disaster into Historical Context,” East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal 5, no. 3 (2011): 417–22.
Lisa Onaga and Hanna Rose Shell, “Digital Histories of Disasters: History of Technology through Social Media,” Technology and Culture 57, no. 1 (2016): 225–30.
Grace Teo and Lisa Onaga, “Making Meanings: Introducing the Teach311.Org Interview Collection,” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 5, no. 1 (2019): 46–58. Click here to view an uncorrected proof version of this article.
The Teach 311 + COVID19 Collective is entirely powered by volunteer researchers, teachers, students, translators, artists, and survivors working together to advance knowledge and wisdom about disasters. While the original Teach311 collective focused on the angle of the history of science and technology in Asia, the collective newly formed in response to COVID-19 has broadened its scope to a wider range of perspectives based in the humanities and social sciences, as well as local contexts from around the world.
Volunteers work together to curate timely analyses of current events “from the field”; the ongoing Arcadia + Teach311 collection of peer-reviewed environmental histories; the Diary Project offering voices of graduate students from around the world during the time of COVID-19; along with other materials designed with pedagogy in mind, including an annotated bibliography of books, articles, films, and other sources.
We seek volunteers willing to contribute in the following ways:
- Writing short summaries of materials for the Bibliography section of the site (in English or your home language, also sometimes called “native” language)
- Translating pieces from Notes from the Field, entries of the Diary Project, the Bibliography, &/or other parts of the site
- Collaborating with a translator/editor to edit translations in your home language
We believe in reaching as many people as possible with our resources—developing a more fully multilingual site is one of our main goals for the collective. Due to the original beginnings of the collective, we are eager to have help from writers and translators working with English and Asian languages (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, etc.) but are very happy to present work in other languages such as French and Spanish.
You can help out once or on a regular basis of your choosing with tasks related to the collective. We understand that you may have other commitments and hope that the experience of volunteering—and connecting with our community—can be rewarding and enjoyable for everyone involved.
If you have other ideas for what you want to do, we are also happy to hear from you! We also appreciate feedback concerning the layout, presentation, and other details of our website. Thank you!
Kristina Buhrman, Yeonsil Kang, Lisa Onaga, Chelsea Szendi Schieder, Grace En-Yi Ting
Digital Content Curator
Nathaniel M. Smith
Nanyang Technological University Faculty Liaison
Shoan Yin Cheung, Jadie Hokuala Iijima Geil, Chihyung Jeon, Yuxin Liu, Teru Miyake, Maika Nakao, Rita Padawangi, Ghada Salama, Ryuma Shineha, Fiona Williamson
Library, Nanyang Technological University
Sulfikar Amir, Chris Courtney, Christian Dimmer, Ashanti Shih, Zachary Tan, Honghong Tinn (co-founding editor), Tyson Vaughan (co-founding editor)
Wiebke Weitzmann, Ashanti Shih, Audrey Tay Aik Ling
Kristina Buhrman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at the Florida State University. She received her Ph.D from the Department of History at the University of Southern California with the dissertation “The Stars and the State: Astronomy, Astrology, and the Politics of Natural Knowledge in Early Medieval Japan” (2012). Her research is on the interpretation of nature, particularly natural disasters, in premodern Japan, a topic that combines the history of science with political history and the history of religions. She lends Teach 3.11 her expertise and interest in the history of disasters in Japan before the modern period. Aside from her premodern focus, she is interested in the modern interaction between East Asian religions and science, and in collaborations between historians and scientists in making risk assessments. Kristina graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Linguistics with a concentration in Cognitive Studies, and before entering her Ph.D. program she worked as a website support specialist for the Cornell University Libraries.
Shoan Yin Cheung is a Ph.D. candidate in Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University. She is an anthropologist of contemporary Japan, with special interest in gender, technology, and social change. Her current work, on the reproductive politics of the birth control pill in Japan, was funded by a 2017 National Science Foundation research grant.
Jadie Hokuala Iijima Geil is a bachelor student of the School of International Liberal Studies at Waseda University, currently studying abroad at the Free University of Berlin. She is interested in alternative forms of housing conducive to ecological and communal sustainability.
Chihyung Jeon teaches science and technology studies (STS) at the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). He handles Korean language materials for Teach 3.11. Inspired by Teach 3.11, Jeon launched Teach Sewol (http://teachsewol.org), which provides documents, photos, and educational materials about the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster in South Korea. He is also the editor-in-chief at the Journal of Science and Technology Studies published by the Korean STS Association.
Yeonsil Kang is a visiting assistant professor at the Department of History, Drexel University. She received her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Science, Technology, and Policy at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2017. Her research interests are the history of envirotech in East Asia and disasters in the past and present. She is currently working on a book manuscript, Mineral Time, Bodily Time: Asbestos, Slow Disaster, and Toxic Politics in South Korea.
Yuxin Liu is an MA student of Computational Sciences at Free University of Berlin. Her work has centred around the penetration process of the rapamycin into the human skin, in particular the impact of solvent and time on the penetration efficiency.
Teru Miyake is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Stanford University. His area of specialty is the philosophy of science, and his dissertation was about a special kind of scientific problem—that of trying to acquire knowledge about systems to which we have limited access. He compared different examples of this problem across centuries. One example of this type of problem focused on astronomy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which brought him to study the work of Kepler and Newton. Another example concerns contemporary seismology, where the aim of seismologists is to acquire detailed knowledge about the interior of the earth from observations of seismic waves at the surface. Teru is particularly interested in how scientific theories and models are used in the exploration of systems that cannot be accessed directly. Before going into philosophy, he got a B.S. in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology, and lived for many years in Japan, working as an engineer and later as a freelance translator.
Maika Nakao is an Assistant Professor at Nagasaki University. She received her Ph.D. in history of science from the University of Tokyo (2015). She is the author of two books,『核の誘惑: 戦前日本の科学文化と「原子力ユートピア」の出現』[Allure of Nuclear: Science Culture in Prewar Japan and the Emergence of “Atomic Utopia”] (Keisō Shōbō, 2015) and『科学者と魔法使いの弟子ー科学と非科学の境界ー』[Scientists and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice: The Border between Science and Non-Science] (Seidosha, 2019). She has produced the documentary film Memories of the Kyoto Cyclotron which was awarded a prize at the 50th Science and Technology Film/Video Festival (2009). She is currently working on the history of radiation exposure and atomic bomb casualties.
Lisa Onaga is a co-founder of Teach 3.11, a collaborative online educational space that helps teachers, students, and scholars locate, produce, and share collective wisdom about disasters through study of the history of science and technology in Asia. Lisa serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Dept. III: Artifacts · Action · Knowledge). Prior to moving to the MPIWG in 2017, she was an assistant professor in the History Program at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and a postdoctoral fellow with the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics/D. Kim Foundation for the History of Science and Technology in East Asia. Her analysis of the history of silkworm genetics involving the Tōhoku region of Japan, and her experience as a survivor of the Kobe ’95 earthquake, have informed her historical and S&TS research on science in East Asia that has been featured in journals such as positions: asia critique, Technology and Culture, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and Journal for the History of Biology. From 2019, she serves as an Associate Editor for History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences. Her book, Cocoon Cultures: An Entanglement of Biology and Silk in Japan since 1840, is under contract with Duke University Press.
Rita Padawangi is a Senior Lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. Previously, she was Senior Research Fellow of the Asian Urbanisms cluster at the Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore (NUS). She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Loyola University Chicago, where she was also a Fulbright Scholar for her master of arts studies. She holds a bachelor of architecture degree from the Parahyangan Catholic University. Her research interests include the sociology of architecture and participatory urban development. She is the editor of the Routledge Handbook of Urbanization in Southeast Asia (2019) and co-editor of Cities in Asia by and for the People (Amsterdam University Press, 2018).
Ghada Salama is an Instructional Associate Professor in the Chemical Engineering program at Texas A&M at Qatar. She feels a strong bond with all things Asia especially South East Asia where she grew up and would love to contribute to Teach 3.11.org.
Nathaniel M. Smith is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona with research interests in political anthropology and nationalism, urban studies, and sound and visual anthropology. He is currently affiliated at Waseda University as a Japan Foundation fellow.
Michael Stanley-Baker is an assistant professor in History at the School of Humanities, and as medical humanities lead at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He holds a Ph.D. in medical history from the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London, as well as a clinical degree in Chinese medicine. He researches comparative medical cultures in China and Asia more widely in early imperial China and today, with a focus on Daoism and medicine, as well as the migration of medicines across cultures. He is the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine (2020), and Religion and Medicine in Asia: Methodological Insights and Innovations. His forthcoming monograph, Doctors, Daoists and Demons: Situating Medicine and Religion in Early Imperial China examines the emergence of religion and medicine as related cultural categories in early imperial China. He uses multi-disciplinary approaches, drawing from Sinology, medical history, religious studies and digital humanities. He has also published a database of Chinese Buddhist, Daoist and medical source texts, DAOBUDMED6D. Dr. Stanley-Baker serves as vice-president of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine.
Chelsea Szendi Schieder is a historian of contemporary Japan and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Economics at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan. Her book, Co-Ed Revolution: The Female Student in the Japanese New Left, is forthcoming on Duke University Press.
Ryuma Shineha is an Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at Seijo University. He previously held an assistant professorship at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (“Science and Society” group). He studies media discourses, communication, and public policy concerning the life sciences in Japan. He received his Ph.D. on this theme from Kyoto University in 2011. His published works on this theme include “Public engagement in Japanese policy-making: a history of the genetically modified organisms debate” (New Genetics and Society, vol. 28-2, 2009). Currently, he is investigating the social structures, media discourses, and the public interest on issues around 3.11 with collaborating researchers Mikihito Tanaka (Waseda University), Ekou Yagi and Masaki Nakamura (both of Osaka University). Their current work on 3.11 is published in Japanese as the two books, The Disaster Vulnerable and the Information Vulnerable: What was overlooked after 3.11? (災害弱者と情報弱者: ３・１１後、何が見過ごされたのか) (Chikuma-Press) and Science and Politics after the Disaster of March 11 in Japan (ポスト3.11の科学と政治) (Nakanishiya Press).
Grace Teo is an MA student with the History Programme at Nanyang Technological University. As an extension of her interests in the histories of time standardization, she is currently completing her graduate thesis on the progression of time policing in nineteenth-century colonial Singapore. She holds an interest in the representations of hibakusha experience and memory in autobiographical and fictional works
Grace En-Yi Ting is a queer and feminist studies scholar specializing in Japanese literature and popular culture. She is working on a book manuscript titled Minor Intimacies: Queerness, the Normative, and the Everyday in Contemporary Japan, examining femininities and female homosociality within representations of daily life by women writers in post-1980’s Japan. Her newer work involves probing tensions between concepts of “queer” and “Asia” across literary discourses from Japanese studies, Sinophone studies, and Asian American studies. After two years as a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) postdoctoral fellow at Waseda University, she will be starting a position as Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Hong Kong in July 2020.
Fiona Williamson is an Assistant Professor in Science, Technology and Society at Singapore Management University; Associate Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, and Associate Fellow at the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of East Anglia in 2009. Her research interests span the environmental and climatic history of former British colonies in Asia and the history of science, especially meteorology. She is currently working on the history of urban heat in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as a number of multi-disciplinary projects aimed at reconstructing past nature-induced disasters.
The three figures depicted in the Teach311 logo are connected by different waves (oceanic, seismic, and radiation) that play a significant role in how the triple disasters of Japan have been been experienced and understood. The redesigned Teach311 + COVID-19 Collective logo takes these figures and fits them amidst the spike proteins that have become iconic of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the novel coronavirus that led to a global pandemic disaster in 2020.
teach3eleven [at] gmail.com
The Teach311 + COVID-19 Collective began in 2011 as a joint project of the Forum for the History of Science in Asia and the Society for the History of Technology Asia Network and is currently expanded in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Artifacts, Action, Knowledge) and Nanyang Technological University-Singapore.