Gabrielle Hecht (Department of History)
Funded in part by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
In the 75 years since the US dropped atomic bombs on Japanese cities, nuclear weapons have relied on conditions of insecurity and inequality. Operating on a global scale, nuclear technological systems have reinforced and exacerbated racial, imperial, and colonial logics of disposability. Located in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood, the Hunters Point Shipyard, a radiologically contaminated Superfund site and the city’s largest ever redevelopment project, exemplifies the urgency of these challenges for frontline communities. This project, conducted in partnership with the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, harnesses interdisciplinary research in the environmental humanities, science and technology studies, and critical race theory to foster new understandings of the nuclear age and its relation to racial (in)justice. Working with community members and Stanford students, it aims to build community-based knowledge infrastructures that will empower movements for racial and environmental justice in the Bay Area. An open-access online archive on the Bayview’s history of toxic contamination and a community oral history initiative will help to democratize humanities research on nuclear (in)security and environmental justice, centering community-driven knowledge production and strengthening environmental expertise, leadership, and collaboration among community members, students, and scholars.