South Asian Cultures of the Bomb: Atomic Publics and the State in India and Pakistan

South Asian Cultures of the Bomb: Atomic Publics and the State in India and Pakistan

by Itty Abraham
     
 

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India and Pakistan became independent nations early in the world's atomic age. Nuclear power and nuclear weapons have been present from the beginning as key features of nationalism and the public sphere in each country. Yet the relationship between nuclear arms and civil society in South Asia is seldom taken into account in conventional security studies. What explains

Overview

India and Pakistan became independent nations early in the world's atomic age. Nuclear power and nuclear weapons have been present from the beginning as key features of nationalism and the public sphere in each country. Yet the relationship between nuclear arms and civil society in South Asia is seldom taken into account in conventional security studies. What explains the fascination of Indian and Pakistani elites with nuclear weapons? What accounts for the absence of a mass antinuclear movement in either country? What do people outside New Delhi and Islamabad think of nuclear weapons? In these original and provocative essays, scholars from India, Pakistan, the U.S., UK, and European argue that if we are to find answers to these important questions it is crucial to understand nuclear power in South Asia beyond the narrow confines of strategic studies. The contributors stress the political and ideological components of national drives to possess and test nuclear weapons, incorporating approaches from history, political theory, sociology, anthropology, media studies, art history, and post colonial studies. A distinctive feature of the volume is the attempt to provide equal coverage for comparable issues in both India and Pakistan, resulting in a genuine intellectual dialogue across this contested boundary.

Editorial Reviews

Pacific Affairs
"For the first time scholars in this book present a multivoiced assessment of the subtle sociocultural effects of the 1998 nuclear tests in India and Pakistan....This book proves conclusively, again, that a partition done haphazardly in 1947 led to very different experiences in the evolution of military–industrial–political complexes in each country. But where others have focused largely on states and strategic cultures, these authors, under Abraham’s able editorship, show how these two atomic publics are constructed and interact with their surroundings." —Robert S. Anderson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada, Pacific Affairs

— Robert S. Anderson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

British Journal for the History of Science
"[The author] Abraham has brought together scholars writing on both Pakistan and India to reflect on the place of science, the atomic question, popular culture and the state. In doing so, he has managed to push forward a perspective that is transnational in a meaningful way for the subcontinent...." —Jahnavi Phalkey

— Jahnavi Phalkey

From the Publisher
"Many observers trace the origins of the nuclear 'problem' in South Asia to 1998, the year in which India and Pakistan together conducted 11 nuclear tests and declared themselves nuclear powers. Some, more historically minded, trace the coming of the nuclear age to South Asia to 1974, when India set off a single underground 'peaceful' nuclear explosion. Both views are substantially wrong. The people of India and Pakistan have been subject to nuclear power for over 60 years.... [N]uclear matters became a part of the region's conceptual and industrial landscape from practically the moment of political independence." —from the introduction

Arvind Rajagopal

"[A]n illuminating volume on the ways in which modern science, state secrecy and popular culture have been used to sanction active atomic weapons projects in India and in Pakistan. Those interested in cultural insights into how and why South Asia became a nuclear flashpoint will find this book indispensable." —Arvind Rajagopal, author of Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India

Pacific Affairs - Robert S. Anderson

"For the first time scholars in this book present a multivoiced assessment of the subtle sociocultural effects of the 1998 nuclear tests in India and Pakistan....This book proves conclusively, again, that a partition done haphazardly in 1947 led to very different experiences in the evolution of military–industrial–political complexes in each country. But where others have focused largely on states and strategic cultures, these authors, under Abraham’s able editorship, show how these two atomic publics are constructed and interact with their surroundings." —Robert S. Anderson, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada, Pacific Affairs

British Journal for the History of Science - Jahnavi Phalkey

"[The author] Abraham has brought together scholars writing on both Pakistan and India to reflect on the place of science, the atomic question, popular culture and the state. In doing so, he has managed to push forward a perspective that is transnational in a meaningful way for the subcontinent...." —Jahnavi Phalkey

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253002679
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
03/26/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Itty Abraham is Associate Professor of Government and Director of the South Asia Institute at The University of Texas, Austin. He is author of The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb and editor (with Willem van Schendel) of Illicit Flows and Criminal Things: States, Borders, and the Other Side of Globalization (IUP, 2006).

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