Inspired by the publication of a book celebrating the role of the women in the Manhattan Project, this paper seeks to demonstrate that such an effort – to the extent it accepts and endorses the historical, political and scientific legitimacy of the Project – is both misguided and dangerous. An alternative feminist critique is presented: one respecting the views of those scientists (men and women) who refused to participate or who have sought to challenge the reductionist Western scientific paradigm from which the Bomb emerged. Illumination of the repressive and hierarchal structures requisite for the “birth” of the nuclear age is undertaken and views excised by the official narrative – the voices of wives, daughters and victims – are recalled. In constructing this “counter-narrative”, critical stress is laid on the multiple negative legacies of the Project and the positive requirement for humane, sustainable alternatives to the poisonous technologies often spawned by current forms of scientific inquiry.

Author Bio(s)

Lee-Anne Broadhead is Chair and Associate Professor of political science at Cape Breton University in Canada. She is the author of International Environmental Politics: The Limits of Green Diplomacy (Lynne Rienner, 2002) and has published widely on peace and security issues, as well as on the social and political consequences of globalization, in such journals as British Journal of Canadian Studies, International Journal, Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme, Peace Magazine and others. She previously taught in the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, U.K. Email: LeeAnne_Broadhead@cbu.ca


feminist science, intellectual inquiry, Manhattan Project, weapons of mass destruction, Western scientific paradigm, women

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