[Symposium] "The Nuclear Imaginary in Transnational Perspective" at Duke University

Event Date: 
Friday, February 10, 2017 - Saturday, February 11, 2017

On Feburary 10-11, Duke University will be hosting a two-day symposium titled "The Nuclear Imaginary in Transnational Perspective."

An abstract and skeleton schedule can be found below. Further details, including location, time, and paper abstracts, can be found on the symposium's facebook page. A low-res version of the poster can found here. If you plan on attending, please RSVP here.

For further information, please email jieun DOT cho At duke DOT edu or ryan DOT holmberg AT duke DOT edu

While all of the papers will be presenting fairly unknown and important material in the history of pro- and anti-nuclear visual culture, we are truly lucky to have Leonard Rifas, an underground comix author turned activist cartoonist who published one of the first anti-nuclear power comics works in 1976 (All-Atomic Comics) and as a publisher issued one of the first English translations of manga in the form of Nakazawa Keiji's Gen of Hiroshima (1980-81).


The Nuclear Imaginary in Transnational Perspective

February 10-11 (Fri-Sat) Duke University

Sponsors: Duke University Kenan Institute for Ethics; Asian/Pacific Studies Institute; Department of Cultural Anthropology; Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies; Dean of the Humanities

Organizers: Jieun Cho and Ryan Holmberg, with Anne Allison

How do you see nuclear energy? Are you even aware of its presence? For many people the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in 2011 came out of the blue. Most Japanese were not aware of the 53 reactors in their country, let alone the dangers they posed. Yet Japanese were hardly alone in their ignorance. Every nuclear accident seems as impossible as the previous one, even though activists, journalists, and artists around the world have been laboring for years to publicize and dramatize the presence and risks of fissioning reactors.

This two-day workshop aims to explore the imagery of nuclear power, protest, risk, and disaster in historical and transnational perspective. Through photographs, comics, paintings, and contaminated landscapes from the United States, Japan, India, Germany, and Australia, ranging in date from the 1970s to the post-Fukushima present, we hope to help each other see nuclear power more vividly by considering the various ways people have visualized the supposedly invisible matter of nuclear risk and disaster.

Session 1: Visualizing Nuclear Risk and Contamination?

Fri 2/10 @ Fredric Jameson Gallery, Friedl Building, East Campus

3:00 PM? Introductory Remarks by workshop organizers

3:10-4:10 PM Morimoto Ryo, Harvard University

Radioactive Bodies and Imaging Phantoms in Coastal Fukushima

4:10-5:10 PM Prajna Desai, Independent Writer and Curator, Mumbai

From Trinity to Koodankulam: the Transnational Nuclear Imaginary in Photography Since Fukushima

5:30-7:30 PM Film Screening: Nuclear Nation: Part 1 (2012)

Directed by Funahashi Atsushi, Introduction by Jieun Cho, Duke University

Session 2: Nuclear Comics in the Age of Nuclear Energy?

Sat 2/11 @ Fredric Jameson Gallery, Friedl Building, East Campus

10:00-11:00 AM Leonard Rifas, Comics creator, EduComics, Seattle Central College

I SAW IT: Activist Comics in America’s Nuclear Age

11:00 AM -12:00 PM Ryan Holmberg, Duke University

Atomu’s Jungle: Early Post-Nuclear Manga of the 1970s

12:00-1:00 PM Matthew Hambro, Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill

Nuclear Power? Nein, Danke! – Germany's Anti-Nuclear Comics