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Grant number like: FA-54524-09

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Gabrielle Hecht
Regents of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2009 – 5/31/2010

Uranium from Africa and the Power of Nuclear Things

This project examines the history of uranium production in Africa from the 1940s to the present. During this time, African ore has supplied 25-50% of the Western world's uranium. The book focuses on South Africa, Madagascar, Gabon, and Namibia, but also includes Congo and Niger. It draws upon fieldwork and archival research in 8 countries. Exploring the transnational trade in African uranium, it argues that postcolonial power relationships were deeply entangled with the technologies and politics of the uranium market. Via a comparative history of occupational health and labor organization, it analyzes how Africans experienced and politicized radiation exposures. The project shows how technology enacts social and political power across national boundaries, how Africans positioned themselves in global technological circuits, and how the view from Africa transforms our perspective on the transnational power of nuclear things.