"Hiroshima's Ghostly Shadows" is concerned with the legacy of Hiroshima and its collective memories.  It opens with a reflection on the "shadowgraphs" of a human incinerated by atomic heat rays.  Left on the stone steps of a Hiroshima bank, the shadow imprint of this human soon gained iconic value.  Turning to poetry, novels, historical narratives and criticism that respond to this Hiroshima shadowgraph, Schwab will analyze its role in the collective memories that form the nuclear imaginary.  As a memento mori of the work of nuclear death, the shadowgraph has been received as an allegory of Hiroshima's nuclear trauma that also foreshadows the extinction of the human species.  It thus presents both a ghostly memory of Hiroshima's past catastrophe and a material embodiment of a perpetual haunting from the future left in its wake.  In her talk, Schwab will include topics such as the scale and boundaries of imagination regarding the half-life of nuclear materials and the scope of destruction as well as the politics of reproduction and survival in women’s activism.  Finally, she will look at the afterlife of nuclear disasters and their transgenerational psychological impact.

 

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