ASLE 2019 Panel - Republics of Radiation: Nuclear Cultures in Comparative Perspective
Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE)
UC Davis, June 26-30, 2019
Panel Proposal: "Republics of Radiation: Nuclear Cultures in Comparative Perspective"
Although radiation obeys no borders and each atomic catastrophe triggers an incantation of all its precedents scattered across the world, nuclear culture continues to be siloed in the geopolitical, historical, ethno-racial, and linguistic boundaries of national and regional studies. We are proposing one or more roundtables on the inherently planetary orientation of the irradiated arts, and their implications for cultures of energy and toxicity more broadly, by putting literary, mediatic, material, and performative texts in comparative contexts. Showcasing the value of both site-specific depth and transnational breadth, we seek papers that examine coevality and equivalence across geographical and historical distances -- on opposing sides of the Cold War, for instance, or between Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima – as well as those which expand the boundaries of nuclearity to intersect with other kinds of technogenic catastrophe such as chemical and oil spills, industrial runoff, and particulate contamination. Studies of post-Cold-War landscapes and emerging contours of nuclear culture across the global East and South are particularly welcome, as is cross-cultural and transhistorical work on atoms of war and atoms for peace.