The View from Ground Zero: Teaching the Bomb through Literature

Teaching U.S. History, World History, Literature or even Elementary? Join us for a free online workshop that explores the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the lens of Japanese literature. The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki remains the only time that nuclear weapons have been used on a civilian population. Even though it occurred over 75 years ago, the trauma of the bombing persists in the bodies of survivors, the politics of the U.S.-Japan relationship, and the literature of postwar Japan. 

Scholars Shawn Bender and Alex Bates will provide you with an overview of the decision-making process that led to the dropping of the bomb, initial responses to the bombing in the U.S. and Japan, and the political dimensions of memorializing the bomb in the U.S. and Japan, including censorship of the Enola Gay exhibition at the Smithsonian. The workshop moves next to two personal narratives crafted into short stories by Japanese authors. These include versions of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, for elementary to high school students, and Hara Tamiki’s first-person account “Summer Flowers,” which is most appropriate for the high school students. A pdf version of these short stories (and any other readings) will be emailed to those who register for this program.

Info & Registration