Projects

N.A.J. Taylor is currently working on two book projects that contribute—via a political and ethical theory—to the emerging interdisciplinary field of the Nuclear Humanities. The first sole-authored book project, Antipodean Nuclear Philosophy, (re)constructs the anti-nuclear ethics and anarchist nuclear politics of the pioneering environmental philosopher Richard Routley through archival research. The second sole-authored book project, Oceanic Nuclear Politics, advances an alternative nuclear history of the Oceanic region that reinstates the role of marginalised voices—such as those of artists, women and Indigenous peoples—in anti-nuclear protests and processes. Taken together, the two projects serve to reinscribe a distinctly Oceanic perspective into the otherwise Anglo-American literatures on nuclear colonialism and extinction. 

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Completed projects have drawn on methods and theories from such diverse sources as agonistic dialogue, intergenerational ethics, critical heritage studies, responsible investment, and the creative arts, among others. Approaching the problem of nuclear harm from various disciplinary perspectives is designed to extend our abilities to comprehend and address the dilemmas that arise from the civilian and militaristic applications of nuclear technology. For instance, to grapple with questions of intergenerational vulnerability and responsibility, between 2011 to 2018 Taylor directed the Archive of Nuclear Harm, a memory institution that explored ways to communicate the problem of nuclear harm into the far-future. 

Such a commitment to the Nuclear Humanities has also had a demonstrable research impact. For example, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice Judge Christopher Weeramantry wrote that the Athens Dialogue that Taylor co-convened and facilitated in 2012—and the subsequent book—was “outstanding” and “a significant step” that makes “a substantial contribution” to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation processes in the Middle East. Prior to 2012, Taylor spent a decade advising pension and sovereign wealth funds on ethical practices relating to transboundary environmental and social harm. In 2007 Australia’s university pension fund awarded him the inaugural prize for ethical investment research where the panel of judges noted Taylor’s “pioneering role” which “may have single-handedly debunked any residual concerns […] and could fundamentally change how [legislators and trustees] now tackle this subject”.

Taylor has also been invited to contribute to projects that are led by others. Most recently, between 2014 and 2016 he advised the Australia Council for the Arts’ Nuclear Futures Partnership Initiative, a three-year community arts program for atomic survivor and nuclear veteran communities impacted by, or implicated in, British nuclear colonialism.  “Reimagining Maralinga”, a multimedia special issue that he co-edited to document the project, serves as a remedy to the relative neglect of Oceania in the literature on nuclear art and culture.