2019 HOTCUS Winter Symposium:

Nuclear States”: Science, Technology, and American Society in the Atomic Age

University of Lincoln, February 16th 2019

Plenary Speaker: Dr Audra Wolfe University of Pennsylvania


In August 2017 President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that if North Korea continued its path of missile development than it would be “met with fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen”. This aggressive rhetoric, coupled with Trump’s subsequent withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear agreement, acted as a stark reminder for citizens of the United States and the world beyond of the continuing apocalyptic potential of nuclear technologies. Americans have lived with the shadows cast by the bomb on American politics, society and culture, alongside more affirmative visions of ‘free energy,’ ‘plowshares’, medical applications, and scientific advance for seventy years. As Trump’s fiery rhetoric revives Cold War concerns about nuclear doom, the time is ripe for historians to reassess all the various ways in which the United States shaped and was shaped by the atomic age.  The purpose of this one-day symposium is to reflect upon the state of American nuclear history today, showcasing examples of the latest historical research whilst exploring future avenues of study. We invite scholars from every career stage interested in American nuclear history to submit proposals to the symposium.


Potential topics may include (but are not limited to):

Nuclear cultures

Nuclear time: eves of destruction and imagined futures

Memory and the bomb

Gender and sexuality/race and ethnicity in the atomic age

Atomic diplomacy/nuclear crises

The bomb, decolonization and the Global Cold War

Nuclear environments and anti/pro-nuclear environmentalism

Nuclear strategy and strategic defense

Civil defense and scenarios of survival

Making use of the ‘peaceful atom’: government, industry and the American consumer

Anti-nuclear movements

Religious readings of the nuclear age

Deconstructing the atom: varieties of nuclear science
Nuclear history: reflections on the state of the field


Individual paper proposals should be no longer than 250 words. Panel proposals should include an overall abstract of no more than 250 words in addition to individual abstracts.

HOTCUS values diversity and equality in its conference organisation. We strongly encourage and, where possible, give preference to panels that reflect the diversity of our field in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, institutional affiliation and employment status. All-male panel proposals will not be accepted.


The deadline for submission of individual and panel proposals is November 7th  2018. Please submit proposals to Dr Tom Bishop, University of Lincoln: [email protected]