Day 5: Feasting on the nuclear humanities

17:30-19:30 (food provided)
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Glover Alston Center, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

This final, evening session is designed to enable participants to critically evaluate the program in particular, and the value of the nuclear humanities in general. Please note that participation in this session will take place over a meal, and an openness to self-reflection is strongly encouraged.

Participants will discuss how they might individually and collectively educate others who may be encountering the problem of nuclear harm for the first time, regardless of their own views on this idea of nuclear weapons disarmament. For this, we will discuss how students may deploy strategies explored over the course of the program, including transforming the ordinary classroom into a space of creativity and social change, and either divesting from or engaging with, nuclear weapons producers.

This activity will also provide an opportunity for those who visited Hanford the day prior (or at an earlier time!) to share their experience with the wider group.


Preparatory text/s

Bill Geerhart, ‘The Atomic Cake Controversy’, CONELRAD, September 7, 2010.

Ira Helfand, ‘Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk’. A report for the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), 2nd edition, November 2013.

Alternative text/s

Seth D. Baum, David C. Denkenberger, Joshua M. Pearce, Alan Robock, Richelle Winkler, ‘Resilience to global food supply catastrophes’, Environment Systems and Decisions, Vol. Is. , 2015, 301-13.

Geoff Brumfiel, ‘How To Order Pizza From A Nuclear Command Bunker’, NPR: The Salt, July 31, 2014.

Carl C. Gamertsfelder, ‘Biomedical Research at Hanford’, Department of Energy Openness: Human Radiation Experiments Oral History Project, September 1995.

International Red Cross, ‘Climate Effects of Nuclear War and Implications for Global Food Production’, Information Note No.2, May 2013.

John W. O’Reilly, ‘Unknown Health Hazards From Fallout’ and ‘Monitoring Livestock Exposure’, Department of Energy Openness: Human Radiation Experiments Oral History Project, September 1995.

Tom Vanderbilt, ‘Blast-Door Art: Cave Paintings of Nuclear Era’, Design Observer, July 2011.

A thought experiment 

You were born into the nuclear age. What did—and do—you expect of the Nuclear Humanities? Which of these expectations and hopes were met, and which were not? How would you communicate the problem of nuclear harm to others, and do intend to do so? Do you agree that alternative forms of knowledge and actions, such as environmental philosophy, dialogue, ethics, and the creative arts, is what is required to move us toward a world empty of nuclear weapons?