Nuclear State of Exception: on Nuclear Weapons, Biopolitics, and Governmentality

The Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies and the research project ”LifeWorth” is happy to announce the following seminar:

Dr. Jeffrey Bussolini

Nuclear State of Exception: on Nuclear Weapons, Biopolitics, and Governmentality

June 3rd 2 – 3.30 pm, room 5-0-22 at CSS, University of Copenhagen

Jeffrey Bussolini is Associate Professor of Sociology-Anthropology at the City University of New York (CUNY) and the co-director of the Avenue B Multi-Studies Center. He has conducted ethnographic research on Los Alamos and other nuclear research institutions as well as etho-ethnographic research in feline-human interactions. He has written on Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben, and he is a translator of French and Italian works.

Near the beginning of Stato de eccezione, Giorgio Agamben includes a very telling quotation from Clinton Rossiter: “Nell’era atomica in cui il mondo sta ora entrando, è probabile che l’uso dei poteri di emergenza costituzionale divenga la regola e non l’eccezione. (In the atomic era into which the world is now entering, it is likely that the use of constitutional emergency powers will become the rule rather than the exception).” Studying the atomic age along these lines, as well as the earlier considerations on biopolitics in Agamben’s Homo Sacer and Michel Foucault’s lecture courses at the College de France from 1976-1979 (including the crucial concepts of permanent war and the importance of conquest and colonization in contemporary state structures), bears out Rossiter’s quotation—the advent of nuclear technology has indeed coincided with an augmentation of biopolitics/geopolitics and continued hostility both between and within states.

Everybody is welcome!