Mutant Ecologies: Radioactive Life in Post–Cold War New Mexico

Abstract

A political ecology of the nuclear age developed through a theorization of "mutation" interrogates the contemporary terms of radioactive nature in New Mexico. As an analytic, the value of "mutation" is its emphasis on multigenerational effects, enabling an assessment of biosocial transformations as, alternatively, injury, improvement, or noise. Cold War radiation experiments, the post–Cold War transformation of nuclear production sites into "wildlife reserves," and the expanding role that biological beings play as "environmental sentinels" in New Mexico are all sites where concerns about "species" integrity may be articulated in relation to radioactive nature.

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