Author’s Forum Presents: Being Nuclear: A Conversation with Gabrielle Hecht and Elizabeth Roberts

Hecht shows that questions about being nuclear–a state that she calls “nuclearity”–lie at the heart of today’s global nuclear order and the relationships between “developing nations” (often former colonies) and “nuclear powers” (often former colonizers). Nuclearity, she says, is not a straightforward scientific classification but a contested technopolitical one. Hecht follows uranium’s path out of Africa and describes the invention of the global uranium market. She then enters African nuclear worlds, focusing on miners and the occupational hazard of radiation exposure. Could a mine be a nuclear workplace if (as in some South African mines) its radiation levels went undetected and unmeasured? With this book, Hecht is the first to put Africa in the nuclear world, and the nuclear world in Africa. Doing so, she remakes our understanding of the nuclear age.


The Author’s Forum is a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, & Ann Arbor Book Festival.

  • Date: 01/15/2014
  • Time: 5:30PM
  • Location: Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, Gallery, #100
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