Similar to the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide, microplastics and heavy metals, the increase of radioactive nuclei in our planet’s geology have recently been suggested as possible markers of the Anthropocene. Cultural imaginations have of course been concerned with the nuclear much longer than that: as geopolitical threat (e.g. nuclear weapons), as disaster (e.g. Chernobyl), or as contamination of livelihoods (e.g. nuclear testing).
Our course analyses how the nuclear, in its different configurations, is imagined, understood and negotiated through cultural texts. These include scholarly treatises, governmental campaigns, film, visual art, and a range of narrative forms. Throughout the course, we will work with insights from the environmental humanities, postcolonial studies and science and technology studies with the aim of developing a sound understanding of concepts such as risk, deep time, sacrifice zones, waste and toxicity.