'Monster Saharan Dust Plume Heading for Europe': A Cultural History of the French Bomb, 1960-2021

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Friday, November 26th, 2021

Friday, November 26, 20214:00PM - 6:00PMOnline Event, Online Event
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Seminaire conjoint d'histoire de la France / Joint French History Seminar


From 1960 to 1966, after more than a century of colonial occupation in Algeria, the French military exploded multiple nuclear bombs in the region of the central Sahara: four atmospheric “tests” at Reggane, followed by another 13 underground, southeast at In Ekker. The health, environmental, political, cultural, and psychological effects of these detonations in the Sahara have continued to radiate for decades since. In this talk, Dr. Panchasi will be sharing a set of historical objects and questions from her current book project, The “French Bomb” in Culture and Empire, 1945-1962.

Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in modern France and empire. She is the author of Future Tense: The Culture of Anticipation in France Between the Wars (Cornell University Press, 2009). Her current research focuses on the cultural politics of French nuclear weapons and testing since 1945. Her most recent publication related to this project, “‘No Hiroshima in Africa’: The Algerian War and the Question of French Nuclear Tests in the Sahara,” appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of History of the Present.


Roxanne Panchasi
Associate Professor of History, Simon Fraser University

Deborah Neill
Associate Professor of History, York University

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