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Hiroshima and After: The First 50 Years of the Atomic Bomb
Interdisciplinary: College 120, Fall 1995

Barbara Gold (Classics), Isserman (History), Ring (Physics), and Rabinowitz (Comparative Literature)

Hamilton College, Clinton, New York

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College 120 is an interdisciplinary course with four instructors. Each of the four sections in the course will meet independently and as part of the larger group. We will have a varying schedule of section meetings and group meetings, and two regular meeting places.

S ix short essays.

Assigned Books

  • John Hersey, Hiroshima
  • Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed
  • Stephen Ambrose, Rise to Globalism
  • Homer, The Iliad
  • Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays (Robert Fagles trans.)
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • Herman Bondi, Relativity and Common Sense
  • William A. Myers, Replacing the Warrior
  • Richard Wolfson, Nuclear Choices

Xeroxes of all other assigned reading will be distributed in class the week before they are due.

Week One: Introduction
8/28 Introdution to the course
8/30 Section meetings
9/1 Film: "The Day after Trinity"
Reading: John Hersey, Hiroshima, pp. 1-90; xerox of Hideo Tamura; Friedman, "Hiroshima Memories."

Week Two: The Good War, America and World War II
9/4 Film: "Prelude to War" from the "Why We Fight Series"
9/6 Lecture by Isserman on "The Good War"
9/8 Section meetings
Reading: Stephen Ambrose, Rise to Globalism, pp. 1-74; Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed, introduction and pp. 3-63; "Early History" xeroxed documents.
The first paper due in class on September 8th.

Week Three: The Physics of the Bomb
9/11 Lecture by Ring on "E=mc2"
9/13 Joint meeting of Ring and Rabinowitz sections
9/15 Joing meeting of Gold and Isserman sections
Reading: Herman Bondi, Relativity and Common Sense, chapter 1-8; Richard Wolfson, Nuclear Choices, chapters 2 and 5.

Week Four: The Manhattan Project and the Enola Gay Exhibit
9/18 Class meeting with Martin Sherwin, evening talk by Sherwin.
9/20 Section meetings.
9/22 Film: "A Conversation with I.I. Rabi"
Reading: Sherwin, pp. 67-238; xerox of Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell, "Commemortion Hiroshima: The Smithsonian Controversy."
The second paper due in class on September 18th.

Week Five: Heroism and War in Western Culture
9/25 Lecture by Gold on "Heroism and War"
9/27 Joint meeting of Gold and Isserman sections
9/29 Joint meeting of Ring and Rabinowitz sections
Reading: Homer, The Iliad, Books 1-3, 6, 7, 9, 16-18, 21-22, 24; William A. Myers, "Replacing the Warrior."

Week Six: The Ethics of the Bomb: Part 1. Scientists and Creation
10/2 Section meetings
10/4 Section meetings
10/6 Film: "Building of the Bomb"
Reading:Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, xeroxes on post-war scientists' movement.
The third paper due in class on October 2nd.

Week Seven: The Ethics of the Bomb: Part 2. Women and War
10/11 Section meetings
10/13 Lecture by Carol Cohn on "The Legacy of Antigone, Women and War"
Reading: Antigone; xeroxed articles by Charlene Spretnak, "Naming the Cultural Forces That Push Us Toward War"; Carol Cohn, "Sex and Death in Palace"; Jane S. Wilson, "Not Quite eden."

Week Eight: The Ethics of the Bomb: Part 3. Just Wars
10/16 Lecture by Professor Rick Werner on "Just Wars"
10/18 Section meetings
Reading: xeroxed selection from Michael Walzer, "Just Wars" and other readings to be announced.
The fourth paper due in class on October 16th.

Week Nine: The World the Bomb Made: Part 1. International Relations
10/23 Lecture by Professor Vincent Auger on "International Relations and Bomb"
10/25 Section meetings
10/27 Film: "Dr. Strangelove"
Reading: Rise to Globarism, pp. 75-189; xeroxes of Kegley and Wittkopf, World Politics, 405-410, 496-502; Kenneth Waltz, "Nuclear Myths and Political Realities"; Barry Blechman and Cathleen S. Fisher, "Phase Out the Bomb."

Week Ten: The World the Bomb Made: Part 2. Domestic Politics
10/30 Lecture by Isserman on "The Bomb, Espionage, and Domestic Politics"
11/1 Section meetings
11/3 Film: "The Atomic Cafe"
Reading: xeroxes of documents concerning the Rosenberg case.

Week Eleven: Biological Effects of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Reactors
11/6 Class meeting with Jim Werner, Director of Strategic Planning and Analysis for Environmental Management, Department of Energy, and evening talk by Werner.
11/8 Section meetings
11/10 Film: "The Final Epicemic" and "The China Syndrome
Reading: Richard Wolfson, Nuclear Choices, chapters 3,4,8,9,10,13; xeroxes of Jonathan Schell, "Nuclear Holocaust"; Carl sagan,"Nuclear Warand Climatic Catastrophe: A Nuclear Winter"; Linda Tothstein, "Nothing Clean about 'Cleanup'".
The fifth paper due in class on November 10th.

Week Twelve: Defense Against Nuclear Attack
11/13 Lecture by Rig on "Is there a Denfense Against Nuclear Attack?"
11/15 Section meetings
11/17 Film: "Panic in the Year Zero"
Reading: Wolfson, chapters 14-17, and other xeroxed articles to be announced.

Thanksgiving Week
11/20 Section meetings

Week Thirteen: The Bomb and the Arts
11/27 Section meetings
11/29 Section meetings
12/8 Film: "Day of the Triffids"
Reading: Walter Miller, "A Canticle for Liebowitz"

Week Fourteen
12/4 Lecture by Rabinowitz on music and the bomb
12/6 Section meetings
12/1 Section meetings
Music: Blitzstein, "Airborne Symphony"; Vaughan Williams, six symphony; Penderecki, "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima." Note: Recording of these compositions will be available in the Music Library: students should listen to all three recordings in the week before our 12/4 class.
The final paper due in class December 8th.