List of Universities and Syllabi

Tufts University"Cultural Legacies of the Atomic-Bomb"




All students in all Schools


Steve Cohen
Office Hours: Tuesday 1:15-2:30, Wednesday 10:30-12:00 or by appointment

Hosea Hirata
Office Hours: Monday 10:00-12:00 or by appointment

Almost every Friday, 11-11:30, both of us will be in Olin 302. If you’d like to see both of us, come knocking on my door around that time.

Writing Fellows: Jamila Moore, Tom Chen, Laura Horwitz

4.Required Texts: Available at the Tufts Bookstore:
  • Bird, Kai, and Lifschultz, Lawrence, Hiroshima’s Shadow
  • Hersey, John, Hiroshima
  • Greene, Bob, Duty
  • Duras, Marguerite, Hiroshima Mon Amour
  • Chang, Iris, The Rape of Nanking
  • Ibuse, Masuji, Black Rain
  • Frayn, Micheal, Copenhagen
  • Ronald Takaki, Hiroshima

A packet of xeroxed readings is available from Gnomon Copy, 348 Boston Ave. in Medford. Gnomon Copy is open from 8 AM until 6 PM, Monday through Friday.


Recalling the testing of the first atomic bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Director of the Los Alamos laboratory that produced the bomb, remarked:

We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita…’ I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.

The atomic bomb changed the world forever. Through an exploration of literature, photographs, film, history, the popular press, and documentaries, this interdisciplinary course will consider the lasting political, social, cultural, scientific, and ethical legacies of that event on our everyday lives.

The course will begin with an investigation of the situation in 1945. The decision to use the atomic bomb will receive a great deal of attention and will be the subject of a great many readings and discussions.

The legacies, of course, follow from that decision and need to be studied with a deep understanding of that event.

  • Conspicuous attendance is required in this course. Having two instructors and long class period in which to discuss readings, view films, and raise essential questions only make sense if, in fact, all of us come together to do those things.
  • Short weekly writing assignments (journal) will be due in class nearly every week. These will be opportunities to reflect on the reading and the class discussion.
  • Two essays will be assigned this semester. One essay, assigned on September 16, will have a rough draft due on September 27 (to be read by the Writing Fellows). The final version of that paper will be due on October 7. The second essay (project) will be assigned on October 15 and will handed in to the Writing Fellows on November 22. The final version of that essay / project will be due on December 11.
  • Participate in the virtual classroom through the Internet.

This is an opportunity to discuss various issues with some Japanese students (in English) studying at Hiroshima Shudo University.


First paper: 25%

Second paper: 30%

Journal: 25%

Class participation: 20%

For our next meeting, Monday September 16, please read the articles by Dower and Dunne, and the excerpt from the Munson report. Both will be found in your reading pocket. Start reading Takaki’s Hiroshima.

(Video Screening: Wednesdays in Tisch 316, 7pm)
9/9(M) Introduction
Video: Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 1945 (17mins)(VC3893)
9/11(W) Video: A Personal Matter: Gordon Hirabayashi vs. the US(30mins)(VC2988)
9/16(M) Was Racism Involved?
Reading Assignment
  • 1) Dower and Munson report (packet)
  • 2) Chapters 1-4: Hiroshima by Takaki
Guest Lecturer: Dean Charles Inouye
First paper assignment distributed
9/18(W) Video:
  • 1) Last Bomb by the War Department (36mins)(1947)(VC1345)
  • 2) The Bomb (52mins)(1982)(VC634)
9/23(M) Science and Atomic Bomb
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Finish Takaki
  • 2) Rhode’s article “Moonshine” in the packet
  • 3) Introduction to Hiroshima’s Shadow
Guest Lecturer: Professor Gary Goldstein
9/25(W) Video: Hiroshima: Why the Bomb was dropped with Peter Jennings (67mins)(VC256)
9/27(F) First paper draft due to the Writing Fellows
9/30(M) Why were the bombs dropped? It was necessary.
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking
  • 2) Articles by Sayle, Blackett, and Lanouette from Hiroshima’s Shadow
  • 3) Start Bob Greene’s Duty
Guest Lecturer: Professor Gary Leupp
10/2(W) Video: Barefoot Gen (83mins)(1983)(DV159)
10/7(M) The Early Controversy
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Section II of Hiroshima’s Shadow
  • 2) Finish Greene
The first paper due
10/9(W) Video: After the Cloud Lifted: Hiroshima’s stories of recovery (VC3898)
10/15(T) Why were the bombs dropped?
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Hiroshima by John Hersey
  • 2) “Hiroshima Maidens” (packet)
  • 3) An article by Yagoda (packet)
  • 4) Start reading Black Rain
The Second Paper topics distributed
Special Guest Speaker: Mayor of Hiroshima, Tad Akiba
10/16(W) Video: The Day after Trinity (88mins)(1980)(VC490)
10/21(M) Literature of the Atomic Bomb
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Selection from Writing Ground Zero by John Treat (to be handed out)
  • 2) Keep reading Black Rain
  • 3) Tamaki Hara “Summer Flower” (in Hiroshima’s Shadow pp.443-452)
video: The Last Epidemic(19mins)(VC2496)
10/23(W) Video: Black Rain(VC2052)
10/28(M) Literature of the Atomic Bomb
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Finish Black Rain
  • 2) Lifton “Creative Response: A-Bomb literature” (packet)
10/30(W) Video: Hiroshima Mon Amour (VC515)
11/4(W) Survivor’s Guilt: Hiroshima as Seduction
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Screen play: Hiroshima Mon Amour
  • 2) MacLear “Limits of Vision” (packet)
  • 3) The Araki Yasusada controversy: Selections from Double Flowering (to be handed out)
11/6(W) Video: Dr. Strange Love (DV18)
11/13(W) Video: On the Beach (VC2431)
11/18(M) Our Friend the Atom
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Arnold: “Blast from the Past”
  • 2) Mason: “Fall Out”
  • 3) Lift Magazine: “Fallout Shelter”
11/20(W) Video: The Atomic Cafe (LD192)
11/22(F) The Second Paper draft due to the Writing Fellows
11/25(M) Fall Out Fever
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Article by Weinberg (packet)
  • 2) “Check Please” (packet)
The Second Paper Due
Guest Artist: Karen Aqua (film maker)
12/2(M) Enola Gay Controversy

Reading Assignments: Bird, Hiroshima’s Shadow: Section IV: “Censoring History at the Smithsonian”

Guest Lecturer: Professor Martin Sherwin
12/4(W) Video: Akira (LD96)
12/9(M) Now That?
Reading Assignments:
  • 1) Article by Frayn (packet)
  • 2) Article by Doctorow (packet)
  • 3) Article by Rinjiro Sodai (packet)
  • 4) Copenhagen, a play by Frayn