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Revisiting the Nuclear Order. Technopolitical Landscapes and Timescapes

11 jun 2018 09:00 - 12 jun 2018 16:30
Institut d'études avancées de Paris
Hôtel de Lauzun
17 quai d'Anjou
75004 Paris

Conference organized by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (Université Paris 1), Soraya Boudia (Université Paris Descartes) and Kyoko Sato (Stanford University), with the support of the Université Paris Descartes, the Stanford University, the Partner University Fund, and the Paris IAS


This second workshop is dedicated to exploring the spatial and temporal dimensions of nuclear order. It is a part of a bilateral France/United States research project funded by the Partner University Fund for a period of 3 years (2016-2019). The first workshop, “Making the World Nuclear After Hiroshima”, took place in Stanford on May 22-23, 2017 (http://hiroshimaconference.weebly.com). The final conference will be held in Japan in 2019, and the project will conclude with an edited volume.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been widely perceived as the dawn of a new era, the Nuclear age that Gunther Anders described as “the age in which at any given moment we have the power to transform any given place on our planet, and even our planet itself, into a Hiroshima”. It was quickly realized that nuclear technology changed the scale of the problems to face with planetary challenges which required a global mode of governance. As a marker of the power of states and national sovereignty nuclear power played a key role in the Cold War and influenced international politics in the following decades. With nuclear technologies the world became a laboratory to address a variety of issues, ranging from energy independence to deterrence, from safety and security to the management of waste and disasters. Nuclear power has also profoundly shaped cultural productions, (e.g., cinema, literature, art), as an icon of power and means of massive destruction. Since the Cold War period, in turn, nuclear energy has reconfigured our societies, through persistent geopolitical tensions and symbolic representations associated with it, in particular through museums and memorials At the time of global environmental changes and their irreversible consequences, nuclear technology instantiates the profound influence of mankind on the planet to the point that the first atomic test is proposed by many scientists as the beginning of anthropocene.

While there is much scholarship about the emergence of the nuclear order, this international workshop, bringing together researchers from different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, will revisit the nuclear order in a long-term perspective by traversing between past and present, between different global and local scales and geographical eras, particularly in the United States, France and Japan. To do so, the workshop will focus on the material and symbolic traces of nuclear technologies, specifically asking two sets of key research questions:

  • How did nuclear technologies shape our visions of the past and of the future? As doomsday clock, end of humanity, and nuclear winter became familiar tropes, nuclear technology reconfigured our visions of the future and the past. What regime of temporality characterizes the nuclear order?
  • The nuclear continue to order our imaginaries, societies and environments. How are we to live with the legacy of nuclear bombs, tests, and disasters? How do we cope with nuclear power plants and waste?


11 June

9:00   Welcome

9:15 - 10:15   Keynote : Hiroshima Re/Traces: Radiontology and the Strategies of Co-Conjuring 
Lisa Yoneyama (University of Toronto)

               10:15 - 10:45   Break

10:45 - 12:45   Session 1: Regimes of Temporality. Memory and Future
Commentator: François Hartog (EHESS)

Nuclear Dreams and Capitalist Visions: The Peaceful Atom and the idea of Hiroshima
Ran Zwigenberg (Penn State)

French Visions of the Nuclear Future: From History to a New Regime of Temporality
Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

From Futures to Make to Futures to Wait for. A Historical Perspective of the Nuclear Fast Breeder Technology
Martin Denoun (EHESS)

               12:45 - 14:00   Lunch Break

14:00 - 18:00   Session 2: The Nuclear Legacy
Commentator: Jean-Pierre Dupuy (Stanford University)

Continuing Nuclear Tests and Ending Tuna Inspections: Politics, Science, and the Lucky Dragon Incident in 1954
Hiroko Takahashi (International Peace Research Institute, Meiji Gakuin University)

Politics of Knowledge on Cancer around Nuclear Installations
Laura Barbier (University Paris Descartes)

               15:30 - 16:00   Break

Governing Nuclear Waste by Nature and Technology
Tania Navarro (Université Paris Descartes)

The Paradox of the Future Geological Nuclear Waste Disposal in France
Sophie Poirot-Delpech and Laurence Raineau (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)


12 June

9:15 - 10:15   Keynote : Nuclear Optics: The Politics of Exposure
Joseph Masco (University of Chicago)

               10:15 - 10:45   Break

10:45 - 12:45   Session 3: The Nuclear Anthropocene
Commentator: Angela Creager (Princeton University)

Carbon-14: Global Conflicts and the Contested Meanings of Long-Lived Radionuclides in the Nuclear Anthropocene
Toshihiro Higuchi (Georgetown University)

From Military Surveillance to European Integration: The Onset of Radiation Monitoring in Western Europe
Nestor Herran (Sorbonne Université, Paris)

Tracing the Global Environment: Elements for a Nuclear Archeology of the Anthropocene
Pierre de Jouvancourt (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

12:45 - 14:00   Lunch Break

14:00 - 15:30   Session 4: Nuclear Governance in Long Term Perspective

Surviving the Bomb: Divergent Visions and Japan’s Nuclear Governance
Kyoko Sato, Stanford University

Nuclear Governance: on the Limits of Containment and Anticipation
Soraya Boudia (Université Paris Descartes)

15:30 - 16:30   Wrap Up and Perspectives
Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)
Soraya Boudia (Université Paris Descartes)
Kyoko Sato (Stanford University)

Registration: https://webquest.fr/?m=44204_conferencerevisiting-the-nuclear-order-technopoliticallandscapes-and-timescapes

12 Jun 2018 16:30
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