June 21, 2022
CMSS Research Fellowship awarded to Dr. Saulesh Yessenova
The Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies is excited to announce our first ever Research Fellowship, awarded to Dr. Saulesh Yessenova, Department of Anthropology & Archaeology. CMSS Fellowships are six month positions granted yearly on a competitive basis and are geared towards advancing the Centre’s research goals. Dr. Yessenova’s project, “Nuclear Deterrence and Warfare: Producing Death and Security at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Weapon Test Site in the USSR”, is facilitates greater interdisciplinary success at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Yessenova recently completed field research in Kazakhstan during 2017-2019 to source ethno-historiographic data regarding human and environmental catastrophes produced by nuclear weapon testing. The purpose of this project is to anthropologise the theory of nuclear deterrence, which evolved into the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) during the Cold War, by grounding its teachings in local experiences at and around the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan. The starting point is that nuclear deterrence and MAD were never external to the technopolitical regime of the Cold War – i.e., neither approximated what was already happening. Rather, nuclear deterrence and MAD were technologies of power that shaped superpower strategies and Cold War political culture by working (in a Foucauldian sense) through people and institutions.
During her tenure at CMSS, Dr. Yessenova plans to write an article focused on the simultaneous production of deaths by nuclear weapons and nuclear security at the Semipalatinsk test site that grew into a major national defence institution in the USSR. She will also present a public lecture and engage with CMSS Fellows and Graduate students during her tenure as inaugural Research Fellow.
We’re very excited to see where you go with this project, Dr. Yessenova!