Congratulations to Ph.D. student Linda Richards, who has published an article in Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research! The title is “Fallout Suits and Human Rights: Disrupting the Technocratic Narrative,” and it challenges the way we think about radiation effects historically. As she writes, “the topic of radiation exposure is a disputed maze of scientific discrepancy and historical incongruity.”
Linda shows us how we can begin to navigate this maze and frame the story differently: instead of relying solely on the pronouncements of scientists and government experts, we can try to understand radiation effects as an important lens for seeing the international human rights movement. The article itself follows the Paulings’ attempts to the sue the U.S. government for radiation effects due to nuclear testing. Linda shows how these “fallout suits” reveal differences between scientific evidence and government pronouncements. Like a photograph, she writes, the fallout suits provide a snapshot of a crucial moment in time when protecting against nuclear threats became not just a scientific subject, but a human right issue.
Linda has been able to travel to multiple archives in her dissertation research, including the National Archives, Chemical Heritage Foundation, and even the archives of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. This paper makes heavy use of archives closer to home, highlighting some of OSU’s valuable collections, especially the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling collections right here on campus.
We are all so delighted that Linda Richards is helping to raise the profile of this topic, these archives, and this university!