III. Selected Literature


Our approach to teaching Atomic America was divided into two parts. The first part of the course was dedicated to a survey of the literature and class discussions. Students compiled weekly reading annotations based on a shared set of questions (link to Annotation Template) that culminated in an annotated bibliography and formed the basis for open-ended discussion posts on the Discussion Board on Canvas (NMT’s Learning Management System operated by Instructure). In the first two weeks, students read cornerstones in the canon of Atomic America: Szasz (1984) and Campos (2015). By the third week, we read geologic memoirs of uranium mining, which are often ignored by Cold War historians. We then shifted to the legacy of uranium mining, the life of the by-product, and the emergent paradigm of Superfund research and education. The initial conception of the course also included visits to the Geologic Information Center at NMT, and surveying the literature from the archive on regional uranium geology, but this never occurred due to the public health emergency of COVID-19.


9/21: Atomic America

·  Szasz, Ferenc. 1984. The Day the Sun Rose Twice. Introduction (3-6), Chapter 1 (7-26)

9/28: ‘Radium Craze’

·  Campos, Luis. 2015. Radium and the Secret of Life. Introduction (1-10) and Chapter 1 (11-55)

10/5: Geology and Technology of the ‘Grants Uranium District’

·  Chenoweth, William. 1985. Raw Materials Activities of the Manhattan Project in New Mexico

·  McLemore, Virginia. 2010. The Grants Uranium District, New Mexico: Update on Source, Deposition, and Exploration

10/12: The Legacy of Uranium Mining

·  Johnston, Barbara Rose. 2007. Half-Lives and Half-Truths: Confronting the Radioactive Legacies of the Cold War. Chapter 1 (1-18), Chapter 5 (97-115)

10/19: Wastelanding

·   Voyles, Traci. 2015. Wastelanding: Legacies of Uranium in Navajo Country. Chapter 2 (55-86), Chapter 3 (87-115)

11/2: The Manhattan Project and Los Alamos National Labs (LANL)

·  Masco, Joseph. 2006. The Nuclear Borderlands: The Manhattan Project in Post-Cold War New Mexico. Chapter 3 “Econationalisms” (99-159)

11/9: UNM METALS Superfund Research

·  Lewis, J., Gonzales, M., Burnette, C., Benally, M., Seanez, P., Shuey, C., Nez, H., Nez, C., Nez, S., 2015. Environmental exposures to metals in native communities and implications for child development: basis for the Navajo birth cohort study. J. Soc. Work. Disabil. Rehabil. 14, 245–269

·  Blake, Johanna et al. 2015. Uranium mobility and accumulation along the Rio Paguate, Jackpile Mine in Laguna Pueblo, NM. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts

·  De Pree, Thomas. 2020. The politics of baselining in the Grants Uranium Mining District of Northwestern New Mexico. Journal of Environmental Management


[We can link to pdfs of the literature, and samples from the student discussion board]



Creative Commons Licence


Contributed date

January 12, 2021 - 4:08am


Critical Commentary


De Pree, Thomas. 2021. III.  Selected Literature. In Afterlife of Atomic America. Disaster STS Research Network.


New Mexico
United States

Cite as

Thomas De Pree, "III. Selected Literature", contributed by Thomas De Pree and Tim Schütz, Disaster STS Network, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 22 January 2021, accessed 15 August 2022. https://disaster-sts-network.org/content/iii-selected-literature