Imagining Cold War Environments

I’m looking forward to going to Philadelphia later this month, to meet with fellow scholars working on the environmental dimensions of the Cold War.  The meeting, titled “Imagining Cold War Environments,” will be hosted on April 26 and 27 (2012) by Temple University’s Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy.  A PDF of the program is here.  I’ll be talking about some of the efforts to promote mutation plant breeding as a way of solving the hunger crisis of the 1960s.  It was one of the many atomic energy applications in agriculture–yes, agriculture–touted by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the late 1950s and 1960s.  Usually, when I discuss these efforts, listeners cock their heads and wonder.  After all, it is not what we  typically associate with the term nuclear!

My paper is called “Quickening Nature’s Pulse: Mutation Plant Breeding, the IAEA, and the Developing World.”  This project of mine is not part of my Arming Mother Nature book (which you can learn about elsewhere on this blog).  It is separate, and I am still conceptualizing what I will do in the next few years as I write about efforts to promote nuclear technologies in the developing world.

Other participants in the conference are Stephen Brain, Petra Goedde, Andrew Isenberg, Vlad Zubok, Mark Lytle, Ryan Edgington, Gretchen Heefner, Sarah Robey, Kurk Dorsey, Neil Maher, and Richard Immerman.

And since I’ve got a copy of The American Way of War on my bookshelf, I’m gratified that the conference will be held in the Russell Weigley Room.  We’ll see if we can revise the idea of war a bit.

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