Haunted/Haunting Digital Archives of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Weaving Ghost Stories around the Ongoing Disaster in the Past, Present and Future

Iida, Mayu. 2020. Haunted/Haunting Digital Archives of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Weaving Ghost Stories around the Ongoing Disaster in the Past, Present and Future. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis examines the digital archives of the Fukushima nuclear disaster that took place on 11 March, 2011. I propose key thesis questions regarding the roles of the digital archive in articulating the memory and knowledge about the disaster, in relation to its capacity of storytelling. I specifically focus on the production of “ghost stories,” the stories concerning exclusions and invisibilities produced in the digital archive as a flexible, transformative vehicle of ephemeral data.

This research draws on interdisciplinary discussions in the fields of media studies, sociology and archival studies, as well as the contributions of feminism and queer theory to delineating the struggles to engage with lost histories and submerged narratives.

My contribution is both theoretical and methodological, in developing hauntology as a way of intervening to temporal and narrative modalities of the practices of digital archiving. In formulating hauntological methods, I attend to the creation of “haunted data” and the contingent dis/appearance of digital traces, which have allowed me to employ archival imaginaries to take into account gaps, absences and erasures as a constitutive part of archival storytelling. I also aim to demonstrate a multivalence of haunting at work in the mutual construction of the archive and the archived, with the Fukushima disaster as both haunted and haunting object of inquiry.

The digital archives I analyse in the empirical chapters are: two archival repositories on the website of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) that owns the damaged plant; the Japan Disasters Digital Archive (JDA); SimplyInfo.org and Nukewatch.org; Teach311.org. They are “moving” repositories that keep archival objects in motion, and I ask how they articulate and bring together the fragments of the disaster, by intervening to, and generating the intricate web of connections between the past, present and future.

Throughout the thesis, I argue that the constant and contingent retelling of the Fukushima disaster in the practices of digital archiving calls attention to narrative possibilities afforded by digital technologies. This research explores how the production of the digital archive entails the conflation of fact and fiction, of multiple temporalities that register different facets of haunting, and myriad regimes of remembering and forgetting, which would shape our understandings of the ongoing disaster with no definitive beginnings and ends.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00030155

Keywords:

Fukushima nuclear disaster, Digital Archive, Hauntology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies

Date:

31 May 2020

Item ID:

30155

Date Deposited:

11 Jun 2021 15:04

Last Modified:

11 Jun 2021 15:04

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/30155

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