Uranium from Africa has long been a major source of fuel for nuclear power and atomic weapons, including the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In 2002, George W. Bush claimed that Saddam Hussein had “sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” (later specified as the infamous “yellowcake from Niger”). Africa suddenly became notorious as a source of uranium, a component of nuclear weapons. But did that admit Niger, or any of Africa’s other uranium-producing countries, to the select society of nuclear states? Does uranium itself count as a nuclear thing? In this book, Gabrielle Hecht lucidly probes the question of what it means for something--a state, an object, an industry, a workplace--to be “nuclear.”
Gabrielle Hecht is professor of history at the University of Michigan. She is the author of The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II and editor of Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War, both published by the MIT Press.
Elizabeth Roberts is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. She is an ethnographer of science, medicine and technology and the author of God's Laboratory: Assisted Reproduction in the Andes.
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.