East Asia by the Book! CEAS Author Talks: Robert Jacobs - "Nuclear Bodies"

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Robert Jacobs

Robert Jacobs will discuss Nuclear Bodies: The Global Hibakusha.

Presented in partnership with the Center For East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago

Virtual event


About the book:  In the fall of 1961, President Kennedy somberly warned Americans about deadly radioactive fallout clouds extending hundreds of miles from H-bomb detonations, yet he approved ninety-six US nuclear weapon tests for 1962. Cold War nuclear testing, production, and disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima have exposed millions to dangerous radioactive particles; these millions are the global hibakusha.

Many communities continue to be plagued with dire legacies and ongoing risks: sickness and early mortality, forced displacement, uncertainty and anxiety, dislocation from ancestors and traditional lifestyles, and contamination of food sources and ecosystems.

Nuclear Bodies weaves these seemingly distinct legacies into a comprehensive global history, examining the colonialism(s) with which nuclear weapon states "select the irradiated," the political use of medical models to render their harm invisible, and the millennia-long legacies of our embrace of nuclear technologies. 

About the author: Robert Jacobs is a Professor of History at the Hiroshima Peace Institute and the Graduate School of Peace Studies of Hiroshima City University. He is a historian of science and technology focused on nuclear technologies and radiation technopolitics. His book, Nuclear Bodies: The Global Hibakusha (Yale 2022) presents over a decade of field research conducted in more than 20 countries on the effects of radiation exposures to individuals and communities from nuclear weapon testing, production and accidents, globally. He has published multiple books and articles on nuclear history and culture. Academia is a second career for Jacobs, who in a former life was a chef and worked in the organic produce industry.

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