Current Institutional Affiliation
Founder, Sunmount Consulting

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Georgetown University
A Comparative Environmental History of Uranium Mining and Milling in North America and the USSR, 1945-1985

My dissertation examines the history of uranium mining and milling in North America and the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1985, using and building upon approaches from environmental history, diplomatic history, and international comparative history. To do this, I will use four case studies from Canada, the U.S., and the Soviet Union. These case studies include Elliot Lake, Ontario; Grants Mineral Belt, New Mexico; Beshtau and Buk, Stavropol Territory; and Krasnokamensk, Zabaikal Territory. The examination of these case studies will allow me to illuminate the complex connections among science, technology, government, economic ideology, culture, and the environment. The main argument of my dissertation is that indirect and direct connections intricately interwove the history of uranium procurement in North America and the Soviet Union. Ideological opposition and the arms race directly linked the programs, and the similar radioactive legacy that all governments caused indirectly linked the programs. My research connects nuclear technology to its origins in nature in order to bring to light the history of oft-ignored historical actors, such as uranium miners and populations who lived around the mines. It also illuminates how nuclear technology development programs affected the environment. My dissertation will be based on archival research in Canada, the U.S., and Russia, and it will incorporate and advance ideas drawn from anthropological and sociological scholarship. My work will provide a new analysis of Cold War history through the examination of the war's direct effects on people and landscapes connected with uranium mining.