Tuesdays/Thursdays 6:00-7:15 in Fall 2020
This course will examine nuclear narratives in global contexts as reminders and remainders of empire. Are nuclear futures only tied to whims of unpredictable world leaders, or are they already part of our daily realities? Whose stories of nuclear proliferation are told, and whose are suppressed? Drawing on government propaganda, activist writing, television, fiction, photography, poetry, and film from 1945 to the present, this course will explore the cultural and material legacies of radiation around the world. From American “atomic culture” of the 1940s and ‘50s to Cold War era peace movements in the Pacific Islands to nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima, we will assess whether nuclear cultures have changed over time by using a place-based investigation of nuclear research, uranium mining, atomic bombs, “clean” energy, and anti-nuclear resistance. Course texts will include poetry by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and Craig Santos Perez, fiction by Ruth Ozeki and Robert Barclay, documentaries such as The Atomic Café and The Return of Navajo Boy, as well as popular film and television like Dr. Strangelove (1964), Star Trek (1967), and Godzilla(1954).