Current Project

                                 Map of the Hanford Site.  (Source:  Department of Energy)

My current book project, Unmaking the Bomb: Nuclear Life and the Politics of Impossibility, examines the complex politics of waste, illness, and remediation at Washington State's Hanford Nuclear Reservation.  The most contaminated nuclear site in the nation, Hanford is engaged in the largest environmental remediation project in human history—legally required to implement protective measures that will remain effective for 10,000 years.  Informed by more than a decade of ethnographic work, Unmaking the Bomb explores how nuclear cleanup is made possible despite its inherent uncertainties.  Through seven empirical chapters, I make the case that nuclear waste is not socially inert, but distinctly productive.  Just as above ground weapons testing produced the official script for American nuclear disaster with its televised detonations and duck-and-cover drills, I argue that the contemporary spectacle of remediation works to re-define the terms of nuclear citizenship and national security in the face of the nation’s enduring waste.   Thus, remediation projects at former weapons sites like Hanford articulate a new social contract for nuclear threat in the post-Cold War era—one that defines the conditions of “acceptable” exposure and "livable" contamination, highlighting particular hazards while rendering others invisible.        


               Aging nuclear reactors along the Columbia River (Photo by Author)

RELATED Publications


Living in Dose: Nuclear Work and the Politics of Permissible Exposure.  2016. Public Culture 28 (3 80): 519-539.

Becoming Jane: The Making and Unmaking of Hanford's Nuclear Body.  2015. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33(5): 796-812.

Wild and Scenic Wasteland: Conservation Politics in the Nuclear Wilderness.  2015.  Environmental Humanities 7: 89-105.

Escaping S-102: Waste, Illness, and the Politics of Not Knowing. 2010. International Journal of Science and Society 2(1): 243-252.


Recent and Upcoming Talks:


November 15-18, 2017:  Santiago, ChileKnowledge/Culture/Ecologies International conference, "The Atom and the Fly: Biocontrol in the Nuclear Wilderness."  Universidad Diego Portales.

May 12-13, 2017:  Chicago, Illinois  Engineered Worlds II: On Resolution and Resolve conference, "Impossible Conditions."  University of Chicago.

April 11, 2017:  Bothell, Washington   Research in Progress series on Population Health, "Living in Dose: Nuclear Work and the Politics of Permissible Exposure."  University of Washington Bothell.

November 6-7, 2016:  Ann Arbor, Michigan  Guest lecture and paper workshop in University of Michigan's Science, Technology, and Society Program.

October 4, 2016:  Bothell, Washington  IAS Research Colloquium, Discussant for Jin-Kyu Jung and Santiago Lopez's presentation on "A Hybrid-Epistemological Approach to Climate Change."  University of Washington Bothell.

September 1, 2016:  Barcelona, Spain  Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Conference, "Living in Dose: Waste, Work, and the Politics of Permissible Exposure."