The Meanings of a Disaster

The Meanings of a Disaster

Chernobyl and Its Afterlives in Britain and France

Karena Kalmbach


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The disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was an event of obviously transnational significance—not only in the airborne particulates it deposited across the Northern hemisphere, but in the political and social repercussions it set off well beyond the Soviet bloc. Focusing on the cases of Great Britain and France, this innovative study explores the discourses and narratives that arose in the wake of the incident among both state and nonstate actors. It gives a thorough account of the stereotypes, framings, and “othering” strategies that shaped Western European nations’ responses to the disaster, and of their efforts to come to terms with its long-term consequences up to the present day.


Karena Kalmbach:

Karena Kalmbach is Assistant Professor in History at Eindhoven University of Technology. She received her doctorate from the European University Institute in Florence for a dissertation that subsequently was awarded the 2015 Book Prize for Young Scholars from the International Committee for the History of Technology.