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Hot Spotter’s Report

Military Fables of Toxic Waste

2013
Author:

Shiloh R. Krupar

Hot Spotter’s Report

How biopolitical militarism in the U.S. obscures the domestic remains of war

Using empirical research, creative nonfiction, and fictional satire, Hot Spotter’s Report examines how the biopolitics of war promotes the idea of a postmilitary and postnuclear world, naturalizing toxicity and limiting human relations with the past and the land. Exposing “hot spots” of contamination, in part by satirizing government reports, this book seeks to cultivate irreverence, controversy, coalitional possibility, and ethical responses.

The nuclear remaking of the world is the ambitious theme of Shiloh Krupar’s innovative and often startling new text. Dispatches from a natural world saturated with the toxic products of the U.S. nuclear state perform the uncertain futures, mutant ecologies, and new subjectivities of a post-nuclear America—an important contribution not only to environmental studies, critical theory, and nuclear studies but also to narrative form.

Joseph Masco, University of Chicago

Many nuclear and other U.S. military facilities from World War II and the Cold War are now being closed and remediated. Some of these sites have even been transformed into nature refuges and hailed as models of environmental stewardship. Yet, as Shiloh R. Krupar argues, these efforts are too often doing less to solve the environmental and health problems caused by military industrialism than they are acting to obscure the reality of ongoing contamination, occupational illnesses, and general conditions of exposure.

Using an unusual combination of empirical research, creative nonfiction, and fictional satire, Hot Spotter’s Report examines how the biopolitics of war promotes the idea of a postmilitary and postnuclear world, naturalizing toxicity and limiting human relations with the past and the land. The book’s case studies include the conversion of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal into a wildlife refuge, a project that draws on a green “creation story” to sanitize other histories of the site; the cleanup and management of the former plutonium factory Rocky Flats, where the supposed transfiguration of waste into wilderness allows the government to reduce the area it must manage; and a federal law intended to compensate ill nuclear bomb workers that has sometimes done more to benefit former weapons complexes.

Detecting and exposing such “hot spots” of contamination, in part by satirizing government reports, Hot Spotter’s Report seeks to cultivate irreverence, controversy, coalitional possibility, and ethical responses. The result is a darkly humorous but serious and powerful challenge to the biopolitics of war.

Hot Spotter’s Report

Shiloh R. Krupar is a geographer and assistant professor of culture and politics at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Hot Spotter’s Report

The nuclear remaking of the world is the ambitious theme of Shiloh Krupar’s innovative and often startling new text. Dispatches from a natural world saturated with the toxic products of the U.S. nuclear state perform the uncertain futures, mutant ecologies, and new subjectivities of a post-nuclear America—an important contribution not only to environmental studies, critical theory, and nuclear studies but also to narrative form.

Joseph Masco, University of Chicago

Hot Spotter’s Report is at once a devastating indictment of ‘green war’ and a hopeful search for new conditions of existence in and beyond the toxic residues of militarism. Written with wit and passion, Krupar’s irreverent experiments with fable, satire, and creative non-fiction do much more than disrupt the ongoing sanitization of military violence; they open space for new coalitions and political imaginings in domestic landscapes marked by the legacies of imperial war. A refreshingly novel approach to environmental and political geography.

Bruce Braun, University of Minnesota

Hot Spotter’s Report

Contents

Preface
Acronyms
Introduction
1. Where Eagles Dare: A Biopolitical Fable about the Rocky Mountain Arsenal
National Wildlife Refuge
2. Alien Still Life: Managing the End of Rocky Flats
3. Hole in the Head Gang: The Reductio ad absurdum of Nuclear Worker
Compensation (EEOICPA)
4. Transnatural Revue: Irreverent Counterspectacles of Mutant Drag and Nuclear Waste
Sculpture
Conclusion: Hot Spotting

Notes
Index

Hot Spotter’s Report

UMP blog - Imagining alternate possibilities in a world in which toxicity and exposure are the rule.

Growing up near two major plutonium processing facilities (Hanford, WA, and Rocky Flats, CO) in the nationally distributed U.S. nuclear weapons complex has profoundly shaped my way about the world—from my relationship with the outdoors and understanding of nature to my educational background and sense of humor. I came of age with an awareness that remote areas—areas linked to ideas about American freedom, democracy, and frontier—are often heavily controlled, made, and maintained as remote. I was also cognizant of invisible geographies of waste in the landscape around me: Toxicity had a way of seeping into everyday life, whether through local lore or official reports or workplace exposures.

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