30. The Nuclear Southwest

  1. Nicolas S. Witschi
  1. Audrey Goodman

Published Online: 27 MAY 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444396591.ch30

A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West

A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West

How to Cite

Goodman, A. (2011) The Nuclear Southwest, in A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American West (ed N. S. Witschi), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444396591.ch30

Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

Author Information

  1. Georgia State University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 MAY 2011
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405187336

Online ISBN: 9781444396591



  • the nuclear Southwest;
  • history of the nuclear Southwest - beginning at New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory;
  • decision, to build the first nuclear weapons laboratory - in the New Mexican desert;
  • second theme, connecting western and nuclear histories - recurrence of boom-and-bust cycles;
  • third theme, what Limerick calls “the unforeseen, maddening, side effects” - of conquest of nature;
  • the Atomic Age, compressed and exaggerating patterns - region's history of conquest;
  • written and photographic responses to the nuclear Southwest - the rhetoric of opportunity;
  • native stories of the Atomic Age - native southwestern writers, against US military presence and its nuclear legacy on behalf of culture;
  • Ortiz, writing Fight Back: For the Sake of the Land, for the Sake of the People - resolution to confront legacy of the uranium industry;
  • images and activism - the atomic photographers' Guild-Ronald Reagan's presidency, through demise of the Cold War


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Native Stories of the Atomic Age

  • Images and Activism: The Atomic Photographers' Guild

  • Feminist and Ecological Narratives

  • Conclusion

  • References and Further Reading