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Atom and Cosmos EXPOsed

Date & Time:
March 30, 2016 | 3:00 pm
Saulesh Yessenova

Atom and Cosmos EXPOsed: Cold War and “Future Energy” in Kazakhstan

This inquiry focuses on the renewal of the atomic and space industries in Kazakhstan.  Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country inherited significant amounts of infrastructure from the nuclear arms race, including the former Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site (the Polygon) and the Baikonur Cosmodrome.  I address the refashioning of the former Soviet military facilities in response to more recent Western concerns with climate change and energy security, while paying close attention to the social life of hegemonic concerns in what is commonly seen as the periphery of global development.  For this purpose, I examine the transformation of the Polygon and the Cosmodrome along with the rest of the buildup that Kazakhstan is creating for the EXPO to be held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in 2017, against the tainted legacy of the historical arms race that caused public health and environmental catastrophes in Kazakhstan.

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