On Wednesday, May 8, at 4 p.m. Kate Brown, associate professor of history, will speak about her recent book “Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters” at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Plutopia is the first history of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia, two communities developed in parallel by opposing nations at the height of the Cold War. More information about the event can be found here.
Brown also spoke about the book at Fordham University on April 24, and at Northwestern University on May 6.
A film by Joe Tropea ’06 History B.A. and ’08 Historical Studies premiers locally at the Maryland Film Festival next week. The Baltimore Brew covered the film in a May 1 story entitled “A fiery act of civil disobedience in Catonsville still resonates, 45 years later.”
“Hit & Stay’ tells the story of nine Catholic activists who protested the Vietnam War by burning draft files in Catonsville on May 17, 1968. Tropea and fellow filmmaker Skizz Cyzyk tell the story using old footage, recent interviews with surviving members of the group and their supporters, images of war horrors, and the reflections of eminences of the Left such as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Bill Ayers and Amy Goodman.
Tropea undertook the six-year process of making the documentary after writing on the subject for his masters thesis. “I had had no idea about the amount of strategy and coordination and about how all these things were connected,” he said.
“Hit & Stay” will have two screenings at The Maryland Film Festival. (Tickets available here.)
• Thursday, May 9, 7:30 p.m. at Charles Theatre, 1711 N Charles St.
• Saturday, May 11, 1:30 p.m. at MICA’s Brown Center, 1300 Mount Royal Ave.
The anniversary of the action will also be commemorated with a May 10 event at UMBC, “Looking Forward from the 45th Anniversary of the Catonsville Nine Actions.”
A segment of associate professor of history Kate Brown’s recent book, “Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters,” was reprinted on April 18 in the online magazine “Slate” under the headline “Life in a Real Nuclear Wasteland.”
“In pop culture, irradiated wastelands are fascinating… Part of the fantasy is surviving alone in an abandoned place no longer fit for the living, but the sad fact is that there are irradiated zones that are fully inhabited, and have been since the first years of the nuclear arms race,” Brown writes. “No one has lived longer on contaminated terrain than people in the village of Muslumovo in the southern Russian Urals located downstream from the Maiak plutonium plant, built in 1948 to produce Soviet bomb cores.”
Brown goes on to describe the conditions in Muslumovo, which often afflicted children: “hydrocephalic children, children with cerebral palsy, missing kidneys, extra fingers, anemia, fatigue, and weak immune systems.”
“[Soviet doctors] determined that radioactive isotopes weaken immune systems and damage organ tissue and arteries, causing illnesses of the circulation and digestive tracts and making people susceptible to conventional diseases long before they succumb to radiation-related,” she writes.
Five history faculty members will present papers at conferences this weekend:
- Michelle Scott, associate professor, will speak at the at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History conference at Cornell
- Amy Froide, associate professor, and Jim Grubb, professor, will present at the Renaissance Society of America annual conference in San Diego
- Associate Professor Kate Brown will speak at an environmental conference in Toronto
- Prof. Susan McDonough, assistant professor, will present her research at the Medieval Academy of America conference in Knoxville.
Teresa Foster ’09, gender and women’s studies and history, ’11 M.A. historical studies, and a LLC Ph.D. candidate, is the winner of the 2013-2014 Wing Graduate Fellowship in Colonial Chesapeake History from the Maryland Historical Society.
The purpose of the Wing Fellowship is to assist a graduate student in undertaking a significant project in Chesapeake colonial history.
Constantine Vaporis, director of the Asian studies program and professor of history, will give a talk entitled “Picaresque Tales, Travelers and Lawbreakers” at the Freer-Sackler Gallery on April 14. The talk will be part of a two-day anime marathon being presented as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
More information can be found here.
Constantine Vaporis, professor of history and director of the Asian studies program, has been invited to attend “India’s Past and the Making of the Present,” a National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute for college and university faculty sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association.
This four-week institute, which will take place in Delhi, Agra, and Varanasi this July, is designed to be an intense, interdisciplinary engagement with Indian history and culture, providing participants with a rich interplay of resources, seminars, and site visits. It will introduce participants to the most current scholarly perspectives on India, broadening and deepening their knowledge and understanding of Indian history and culture. The institute will also provide a solid foundation of scholarship for faculty interested in designing and teaching courses dealing with South Asia.
“Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters” by Kate Brown, associates professor of history, was recently reviewed by Nature.
“A multitude of…harrowing accounts fills the pages of Plutopia, a ‘hidden history’ of two communities — one American, one Soviet — that fuelled the nuclear arms race. Unusually, historian Kate Brown interviewed dozens of frontline workers for her meticulously researched account of how these two remote towns became indelibly linked by plutonium, and by catastrophic radioactive contamination,” the reviewer writes.
“Plutopia has important messages for those managing today’s nuclear facilities, arguing for caution and transparency,” the magazine concludes.
The full review can be read here.
Amy Froide, associate professor of history, has been elected President of the Middle Atlantic Conference on British Studies (MACBS).
The MACBS is the Mid-Atlantic regional affiliate of the North American Conference on British Studies, which is a scholarly society dedicated to all aspects of the study of British civilization. The NACBS sponsors a scholarly journal, the Journal of British Studies, online publications, an annual conference, as well as several academic prizes, graduate fellowships, and undergraduate essay contests. The MACBS annual conference will be held at Lehman College of the City University of New York on March 23-24, 2013.
Clarence Lusane, professor of comparative and regional studies at American University, will present “The Black History of the White House: From Washington to Obama” at UMBC on Wednesday, March 27, 4:00 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library, 7th Floor.
This talk employs the White House as a prism to examine the historic and contemporary racial politics of the nation. From the building of the White House with slave labor to the “othering” of President Obama, Dr. Lusane explores the racial dynamics of one of the world’s most iconic buildings.
This Social Sciences Forum is co-sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Language, Literacy and Culture Doctoral Program; the Departments of History, Africana Studies, American Studies, and Sociology and Anthropology.