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"White-hot Japan" with Prof. Kobayashi -- "Reconsidering the marriage of Society and Technology"

2011-10-30 (Sun) - 2011-11-20 (Sun)

Special classes by Professor Tadashi KOBAYASHi of Osaka University's Center for the Study of Communication-Design will be broadcast on the NHK Educational TV program "White-hot Class Japan" for four weeks from Sunday, October 30.
What is "White-hot Class Japan"? Last spring, the American program "Justice" with Michael Sandel was broadcast on NHK Educational TV. In broadcasting the program in Japan, the name "Justice" was changed to "Harvard Hakunetsu Kyoshitsu" [White-hot Harvard Class]. The program turned out to be very popular and so NHK Educational TV then created a home-grown version of "Justice," the program "White-hot Class Japan."
Currently in Japan, the conventional university education system is being reviewed and interactive classes aiming at nurturing students' abilities to think for themselves and communicate their ideas to others are being promoted.
By broadcasting actual classes at universities, White-hot Class Japan shows that some Japanese universities are indeed conducting such interactive classes and stimulating the intellectual curiosity of their students. Experienced lecturers challenge students to think and capable students rise to meet such challenges, resulting in extremely intense classroom discussions. Even viewers find themselves intellectually stimulated as if they were participating in the class.

Special classes by Professor Tadashi Kobayashi -- "Reconsidering the marriage of Society and Technology"

As already mentioned, classes from Professor Tadashi KOBAYASHI's course "Technological Society" will be broadcast over four weeks beginning from the end of October. The theme for Professor Kobayashi's classes is "Reconsidering the marriage of Society and Technology."
The accidents at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants attributed to the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami compel concerned persons to reconsider the relationship between society and technology. Although technological development has been a driving force behind economic development, negative aspects of technology have been emerging since the 1960s. Society has tried to cope with such challenges by increasing technological development. Nuclear power generation is a typical example of large-scale 20th century technology. However, the recent disaster demonstrates all too vividly that a single malfunction in technology that impacts people's lives directly can result in appalling consequences.

Through Prof. Kobayashi's classes, students achieve a clear understanding of the nature of technology while thinking about the responsibilities that specialists in science and technology must bear in harnessing technology and how general citizens must also participate in this process. Led by Prof. Kobayashi, a specialist in scientific philosophy and technological society, graduate students in the liberal arts and sciences will engage in intense discussions on topics that do not have a single correct answer.
White-hot Japan will be broadcast from 6:00 to 6:58 p.m. on Sundays.

  • Part 1 -- "What questions can we ask about the outbreak of BSE in the UK?" (October 30, 2011)
  • Part 2 -- "How are social decisions best handed down?" (tentative topic) (November 6, 2011)
  • Part 3 -- "Thinking about the Great East Japan Earthquake and Problems of the Accidents at the Nuclear Power Plants" (tentative topic) (November 13, 2011)
  • Part 4 -- "How deeply should Society get involved in Technology?" (tentative topic) (November 20, 2011)

Date: 2011-10-30 (Sun) - 2011-11-20 (Sun)
Registration: Not necessary.
Contact: Center for the Study of Communication-Design, Osaka University

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