Archive | January, 2015

The Misrepresentation of Nuclear Things

31 Jan
Front cover of Metro, Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

Front cover of Metro, Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

This post was inspired the coincidence of two things, one good, one depressingly bad. Firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading Gabrielle Hecht’s excellent article ‘The Power of Nuclear Things‘ (the article kindly and conveniently made available to all on Prof. Hecht’s personal website).[1] Secondly, I most certainly did not enjoy the sight of free newsheet Metro’s front page on Wednesday January 28 (see image to the right).

It’s not often you get to bring together the work of an esteemed scholar and the comment-baiting scare quotes of a – let’s not mince words here – paper that is down-market of the Daily Mail (if such a thing is possible).[2] That being said, I would suggest that Hecht’s analysis (more on that below) offers us a useful critical framework for understanding this faintly ridiculous front page.

Continue reading

Teaching the Nuclear Cold War: Conclusions

13 Jan

NCWIt’s well over a month now since the conclusion of my first foray into teaching honours-level history (and only a couple of days until I start teaching my second course). Time to take stock, to assess, and to examine the good and the bad. In this post, I aim to summarise the course, look at how things ended up when compared to how I imagined they would, and think about ways to improve the course for future offerings. Hopefully, this reflection and analysis will make me a better teacher and make the course better in future.

The Good

I was delighted to see students responding to my enthusiasm for nuclear history, engaging with subjects they had never studied before, and coming to their own considered conclusions. Furthermore, I was very pleased to see from the feedback that the course had encouraged many students to think more about contemporary nuclear issues and how they relate to the Cold War.

Continue reading

Nuclear Identity Symposium, April 2015

8 Jan

greenham_1985577bI’m delighted to announce a Call for Papers for a symposium I’m organising!

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Nuclear Identity will take place in the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology (SHCA) at the University of Edinburgh on April 10, 2015. The event is co-hosted by the SHCA’s Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict and the British International Studies Association (BISA).

The workshop will be limited to 20 participants and short presentations of up to nine papers to stimulate discussion. The theme of ‘nuclear identity’ is broadly defined and can include (but is by no means limited to) how states, groups, and individuals identify as nuclear or anti-nuclear, how various forms of identity can be imposed or withdrawn, or how nuclear issues themselves are identified, codified, and analysed.

The purpose is to explore contemporary thinking on the past, present, and future of nuclear weapons from critical perspectives, foster links and dialogue between like-minded academics and research students, and stimulate collective thinking on a critical nuclear research agenda. The workshop welcomes participants from all disciplines, including (but not limited to) anthropology, history, international relations, political science, and sociology.

Postgraduate students are particularly welcomed, either presenting papers or as non-presenting attendees. Limited funds are available to postgraduate scholars to provide travel bursaries to defray the cost of attendance.

The full CfP can be found on the BISA Global Nuclear Order Working Group blog. If you have any queries, please do get in touch with me either here on the blog, or by email at: mcraig [at] staffmail [dot] ed [dot] ac [dot] uk

 

Hell Is A City

2 Jan

HellIsaCity1960The recent, sad death of the great Billie Whitelaw prompted me to divert from the nuclear norm and reflect on a film in which she played a small – but significant – part. Hell Is A City is a frequently overlooked gem of post-war British cinema. An unabashedly commercial crime movie that, nonetheless, contains much to recommend it. It also happens to be one of my favourite pieces of post-war British cinema.

Hell Is A City very much follows the traditional pattern for its type: hardened criminal commits robbery and accidental murder, hard-bitten cop with a terrible home life is determined to track him down, cop trawls through the seedier elements of society to get his man. Yet, there are several things which make the film something apart from the norm.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: