Tracing the Atom
Nuclear Legacies in Russia and Central Asia
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This book is about nuclear legacies in Russia and Central Asia, focusing on selected sites of the Soviet atomic program, many of which have remained understudied. Nuclear operations, for energy or military purposes, demanded a vast infrastructure of production and supply chains that have transformed entire regions. In following the material traces of the atomic programs, contributors pay particular attention to memory practices and memorialization concerning nuclear legacies.
Tracing the Atom foregrounds historical and contemporary engagements with nuclear politics: how have institutions and governments responded to the legacies of the atomic era? How do communities and artists articulate concerns over radioactive matters? What was the role of radiation expertise in a broader Soviet and international context of the Cold War? Examining nuclear legacies together with past atomic futures and post-Soviet memorialization and nuclear heritage shines light on how modes of knowing intersect with livelihoods, compensation policies, and historiography.
Bringing together a range of disciplines – history, science and technology studies, social anthropology, literary studies, and art history – this volume offers insights that broaden our understanding of twentieth-century atomic programs and their long aftermaths.
Table of Contents
Susanne Bauer and Tanja Penter
Tracing the Atom. Nuclear Legacies in Russia and Central Asia
Part I. Past Futures: Soviet nuclear sciences and politics
The Nuclear Landscape as a Garden. An Envirotechnical History of Shevchenko/Aqtau, 1959–2019
Radiation Expertise in the Nuclear Landscapes of the Southern Urals in the 1950s and 1960s
Between Profession and Politics: Specialists in Radiation Medicine at the Combine No. 817 in the Chelyabinsk Region
Part II. Living with Nuclear Legacies
Nuclear Relationalities: Contextualizing the Uranium Mining and Production Sites in Khujand/Leninabad
The Satanic Cosmic Force: Nuclear Arms Technology in Soviet Fiction
The Legal Heritage of the Atom: Dealing with Victims of Radioactive Contamination in the post-Soviet Space
Part III. Traces of Exposure and the Politics of Memory
Witnesses to Radioactive Contamination
Fallout Memory Trajectories at Semipalatinsk: Reassembling the post-Soviet Past
Susanne Bauer is a professor of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University of Oslo, Norway. Her research interests are in sociomaterial studies of technoscience and anthropogenic ecologies. She has widely published on life sciences in society, epidemiological data labor, biomedical infrastructuring, environmental health regulation, and post-Soviet nuclear aftermaths.
Tanja Penter is a professor of Eastern European history at Heidelberg University, Germany. She has extensively published on twentieth-century Soviet and post-Soviet history. She is a member of the German-Russian and the German-Ukrainian Commission of Historians and of the scientific advisory board of the German Historical Institute in Moscow.