CfP: Chernobyl as a Historical Caesura: Environment, Politics, and Science

University of Naples Federico II
9-10 December 2022

The Departments of Social Sciences and of Humanities of the University of Naples
Federico II, the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, the Rachel Carson Center for Environment
and Society of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and the Department of History of the
National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy are pleased to announce an open call for papers for
the conference Chernobyl as a Historical Caesura: Environment, Politics, and Science to be held
in Naples on 9-10 December 2022.

Over the last ten years, scholars have devoted an increased attention to the study of the
role the Chernobyl (Ukr. Chornobyl’) disaster played from a political, social, cultural, and
environmental point of view. In her seminal book A Manual for Survival, Kate Brown defined the
incident and its aftermath as an unprecedented episode in human history with long-term
consequences that are not yet fully evident even today. Starting with this insight, our conference
aims at analyzing the Chernobyl disaster as a turning point in the late twentieth century not only
for political and environmental history, but also for medicine and international cooperation, and
for the human perception of nature and science. For our conference we seek papers that can speak
(but are not limited) to the following questions:

– The ways in which the Chernobyl disaster reshaped political debates locally, nationally, and
– The impact it had on political regimes (including the Soviet Union) and on the emergence
of environmental and eco-nationalist movements and parties.
– The consequences this accident had on debates about science and technology, as well as
on debates about risk, health, and hazards.
– The ways in which it shaped debates about energy and environmental policies at a local,
national, and international level.
– The effects the Chernobyl events had on scientists’ political and civic engagement in the
context of the late Cold War, and on their research concerning environmental issues and
renewable forms of energy.
– The social and political consequences the Chernobyl calamity had on local populations and
civil societies, in Ukraine and around the world.
– How the Chernobyl disaster is remembered locally, regionally, and internationally and how
it shaped individual and collective perceptions of nature and science as much in artistic
expressions as in popular culture.
– The ways in which the incident contributed to the emergence of a global environmental
awareness and the need for international research, activity, and cooperation.

Please send a paper proposal of no more than 500 words, along with a 1-page CV, to
Simone Attilio Bellezza ( and Elisabetta Bini ( by
May 15, 2022. The program committee will notify applicants by June 25, 2022.

The conference language will be English. A selection of the papers will be published in an
edited volume / special journal issue. Travel expenses will be covered and accommodation will be provided.

Scientific committee:
Simone Attilio Bellezza (University of Naples Federico II)
Elisabetta Bini (University of Naples Federico II)
Gabriella Corona (ISMED-CNR)
Christof Mauch (Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Serhii Plokhy (Harvard University)
Natalia Shlikhta (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy)

The conference is part of the National Research Project (PRIN 2017) Inventing the Global
Environment: Science, Politics, Advocacy and the Environment-Development Nexus in the Cold War and Beyond.

Author: Aisseco

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