Narrating the Nuclear Anthropocene

Co-authored manuscript (with Stefanie Fishel) under advanced contract to Routledge’s Worlding Beyond the West book series, to be delivered in December 2020.

International Relations (IR), as a traditionally Western discipline, “hyper-separates” humanity from nature both politically and ethically. Its tendency toward state centric understandings of human relations often misses or elides other political and social processes at work globally. At another level, the anthropocentric approach focuses only on human processes. Many critical approaches in IR seek to rectify this to create a more complex picture of global politics and this book seeks to add to these explorations. This is done to be better able to understand and respond to the complex issues facing human and non-human communities affected by the changes created by the Anthropocene. To begin to address this more complex world, this book desires to open the dialogue in IR to this complexity by twinning a new method in IR—a narrative approach to politics—to the effects of the use of nuclear materials for weapons and energy. This serves two purposes: firstly, to shift the focus from a human centred understanding of nuclear materials as only strategic material to one that acknowledges the effects of nuclear radiation as not discriminating between human and non-humans so readily. Secondly, a narrative approach vis a vis this topic aids in diffusing the state and anthropocentric nature of scholarship on nuclear materials as is usually found in tradition IR. This dual approach begins to frame IR as a wider project of biospheric worlding, or cosmo-politics, rather than only matters of state and national concern.