CFP on Nuclear Environmental Humanities

Re-Blogged from H-Net

Call for Contributions Edited Collection on Nuclear Environmental Humanities, McGill-Queen’s UP

by Livia Monnet


Dear Colleagues,

We are seeking contributions to an edited collection on Nuclear Environmental Humanities to be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. The collection will attempt to lay the   groundwork for this emerging subfield in environmental humanities. In the current context of climate change and renewed nuclear proliferation open debates and collaborative work between and across the humanities, social sciences, and the natural and environmental sciences are more needed than ever. The deadline for abstracts of 300-500 words is March 6, 2016. deadline for completed essays is December 1, 2016. Please feel free to circulate on your listserves and networks. Livia Monnet, Professor, Department of World Literatures and Languages, University of Montreal.

Call for Contributions – Edited Collection

Toxic Immanence: Nuclear Legacies, Futures, and the Place of Twenty-First Century Nuclear Environmental Humanities

Editors: Livia Monnet , Peter C. van Wyck Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press

In a recent article in the 70th anniversary issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, author Eric Schlosser warns that the danger of nuclear annihilation through the use of nuclear weapons is far greater now than in the immediate aftermath of WW2, or indeed during much of the Cold War. He also calls attention to some of the factors that have contributed, or may lead to a significant increase of the danger of nuclear strikes, or of accidental nuclear detonations: the theft of fissile materials, and the blackmail that could ensue from such action; hacking of the computerised command-and-control systems of cruise missiles with nuclear warheads; religious extremism advocating mass killings of non-believers; lapses, mistakes, and accidents in the management of the nuclear arsenal of every nuclear weapon state; the general public’s low awareness of, and complacency regarding the risks of existing nuclear weapon stockpiles, and the horrific consequences of any type of nuclear warfare. In addition to all of these future pathways of exposure and threat, we recall the legacies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the globalised fallout and contamination resulting from nearly 70 years of testing. And, from the point of view of the civilian atom, we would add to this picture the ongoing radioactive contamination emanating from nuclear energy production in general; the millions of tons of radioactive waste produced in the mining and production of uranium; and, the sobering fact that 70-plus years into the nuclear project, there is not yet a single functioning repository for the long-term storage of high-level nuclear waste.

We are fast approaching the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Anti-nuclear protest in Japan has all but died out as the nation disavows the event and its victims, and two of the country’s idled nuclear reactors have been restarted, with a third one scheduled to be reconnected to the grid in early 2016. At the same time, massive nuclear power expansion programs are underway in China and India, and several countries in Southeast Asia are considering acquiring nuclear reactors to step up their energy production. Whether or not the prospect of nuclear proliferation in Asia represents a real threat to the American counterterror state and its allies, and whether or not there could conceivably be a “nuclear solution” to climate change, what we are witnessing is not so much a Second Nuclear Age – there is no post-atomic – as an uncanny return of Cold War discourses of nuclear deterrence, in revamped form, propped up by the parallel effects of the nuclear industry’s unbounded capacity for self-reinvention together with an equally unbounded capacity to forget. More than “fabulously textual,” the materiality of the nuclear – as protean, unbound, and unending – is here to stay.

Advancing the argument of Joseph Masco, Daniel Cordle and others that our lived reality and culture are inherently nuclear, this essay collection will explore the “toxic immanence,” troubling legacies, and disquieting futures of the civilian and military atom in twenty-first century art/post-Cold War, global culture, philosophy, geopolitics, science, and social activism. The objectives of the collection are plural: 1) to work towards a remedy for the reticence within the growing field of the environmental humanities to seriously address questions of the nuclear, and lay the groundwork for what we might call “nuclear environmental humanities”; 2) to establish a critical and productive dialogue with researchers, practices, and archives in nuclear science, nuclear medicine, geoscience, quantum physics, and other sciences and disciplines in which nuclear materials and knowledges are of primary importance; 3) to show how in the current context of climate change, political instability, and global governance by neoliberal corporate capitalism, Nuclear Environmental Humanities is called upon to develop new concepts, vocabularies, and approaches that foster new thinking within, between, and beyond existing paradigms (e.g., nuclear criticism, toxic discourse, nuclear history, nuclear waste management discourse, nuclear cinema/ecocinema studies, etc.); 4) to integrate the analyses and insights of Nuclear Environmental Humanities with the discourses and practices of activists (environmental/anti-nuclear, community, indigenous rights) and activisms.

Accordingly, we seek submissions that address these themes and purposes, that challenge existing ideas and orthodoxies, that chart new methodological approaches and seek new sites of inquiry .

Contributions should not exceed 6,000 words, and should be formatted according to the Chicago Manual Style, 16th edition. Submissions in non-traditional formats such as photographic essays, collaborations between artists and scholars/scientists, visual artworks, comics, and poetry will also be considered. Depending on the available funding for this publication we hope to produce a website or a DVD for viewing the artworks. The collection will be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. Contributors may wish to examine (but need not limit themselves to) the following topics:

  • the nuclear in 21st century/post-Cold War literature, theatre, the visual and media arts, opera, performance art, dance
  • the nuclear in 21st century/post-Cold War popular culture: video games, comics/manga, film, rap, various youth/popular music genres
  • new concepts, theories, and approaches for 21st century Nuclear Environmental Humanities
  • postcolonial/decolonial/indigenous/feminist/queer/disability studies approaches to 20th and 21st century nuclear cultures, ecologies, and sciences
  • the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in recent film, art, and literature
  • “nuclear criticism” in the 21st century
  • critical topographies of nuclear culture
  • comparative nuclear and radiation accidents and incidents studies
  • radiation ecologies and aesthetics
  • nuclear waste ecologies and futures
  • comparative nuclear histories
  • nuclear/atomic archives
  • transnational/comparative hibakusha (nuclear victims and survivors, communities affected by radiation exposure from atomic bomb testing, nuclear accidents, uranium mining) studies
  • new approaches to/in nuclear geography, anthropology, sociology
  • new materialisms and the nuclear
  • process and event philosophies and the nuclear
  • from nuclear deterrence to counterterror/preemption and beyond: critical analyses of state and media discourses on nuclearism from the Cold War to the present
  • dialogues/collaborations between nuclear scientists and artists, writers, filmmakers
  • critical comparative studies of documentaries/science films on nuclear science and technology (including nuclear weapons science and nuclear waste storage)
  • transnational nuclear cinema/nuclear fiction
  • comparative anti-nuclear activism studies
  • indigenous nuclear studies
  • the political science and philosophy of nuclear (in)security
  • the nuclear age and the Anthropocene

Extended Deadline for 300-500 word abstracts: March 6, 2016.

Deadline for submission of completed contributions: December 1, 2016. Inquiries, abstracts and completed contributions may be sent to the editors:

Livia Monnet, University of Montreal, Peter C. van Wyck, Concordia University, 


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