Revisiting the Nuclear Order. Technopolitical Landscapes and Timescapes


Monday 11 June 2018, 9h00 - Tuesday 12 June 2018, 17h00


nstitut d'études avancées de Paris
Hôtel de Lauzun
17 quai d'Anjou
75004 Paris

Revisiting the Nuclear Order. Technopolitical Landscapes and Timescapes

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 ( 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?