High School social studies teacher Kathy Krauth just returned from a two-day conference hosted by The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University on their Japan Digital Archive Project (JDA). Conceived immediately after 3/11, the Archive seeks to capture the digital historical record of the triple disasters. JDA envisions its digital archive as a place where people do things and, therefore, a participatory and collaborative space. Users will be able to create their own narratives of history; in this way JDA is establishing an entirely new relationship between archiving and the construction of social and cultural meaning. The Japan Digital Archive does act as a portal to millions of written and visual texts related to 3-11, but because of its cutting-edge architectural platform and unique mapping tools, JDA also explores how commemoration and public memory will take place in a digital world.
As digital natives, many comfortable in both Japanese and English, and many personally connected to 3/11, the students at ASIJ seem uniquely qualified to contribute to this project. The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University and The American School in Japan are currently exploring the ways ASIJ students will work on JDA. (Kathy Krauth, HS Social Studies)