Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-apocalyptic Worlds

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Liverpool University Press, 2011 - Literary Criticism - 278 pages
Ranging across novels and poetry, critical theory and film, comics and speeches, Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds explores how writers, thinkers, and filmmakers have answered the following question: are nuclear weapons 'white'? Many texts respond in the affirmative, and arraign nuclear weapons for defending a racial order that privileges whiteness. They are seen as a reminder that the power enjoyed by the white western world imperils the whole of the Earth. Furthermore, the struggle to survive during and after a speculated nuclear attack is often cast as a contest between races and ethnic groups. Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War listens to voices from around the Anglophone world and the debates followed do not only take place on the soil of the nuclear powers. Filmmakers and writers from the Caribbean, Australia, and India take up positions shaped by their specific place in the decolonizing world and their particular experience of nuclear weapons.
The texts considered in Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War encompass the many guises of representations of nuclear weapons: the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic weapons, the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear tests taking place around the world, and the anxiety surrounding the superpowers' devastating arsenals. Of particular interest to SF scholars are the extensive analyses of films, novels, and short stories depicting nuclear war and its aftermath. New thoughts are offered on the major texts that SF scholars often return to, such as Philip Wylie's Tomorrow! and Pat Frank's Alas Babylon, and a host of little known and under-researched texts are scrutinized too.

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About the author (2011)

Paul Williams is Lecturer in English at the University of Exeter, and the author of Paul Gilroy (Routledge, 2013) and co-editor (with JT Lyons) of The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts (University Press of Mississippi, 2010).

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