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Nuclear History is topic for Lecture by American University Historian

(Posted September 16, 2013)

Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A historian who has written two books on science and nuclear studies will speak at Juniata College on "The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Rise of the American Empire" at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.

"Rather than emphasizing the triumphalist narrative or the victims' narrative regarding the atomic bombings of Japan, Kuznick will emphasize an apocalyptic narrative," says James Skelly, director of the Baker Institute. "He will note that the people involved in the decision to utilize atomic weapons understood that the processes that they had set in motion could ultimately lead to the elimination of all life on the planet."

Peter Kuznick, professor of history at American University, is the author of "Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America" and is currently writing a book on scientists' opposition to the Vietnam War.

He is director of American University's Nuclear Studies Institute. He writes and lectures on nuclear issues and has written extensively on the atomic bombings. He takes students on an annual study abroad trip to Japan to visit the only two cities to experience an atomic bombing: Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"Rather than emphasizing the triumphalist narrative or the victims' narrative regarding the atomic bombings of Japan, Kuznick will emphasize an apocalyptic narrative."
James Skelly, director of the Baker Institute.

Kuznick also organized and led the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy when controversy erupted between U.S. veterans and the historians and staff of the Smithsonian Institution's "Enola Gay" exhibit. He also founded the Nuclear Education Project.
In addition to teaching a variety of history courses, Kuznick also created a course called "Oliver Stone's America."
Kuznick earned all of his educational degrees at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, N.J., earning a bachelor's degree in 1970, a master's degree in 1975 and a doctoral degree in 1984.

After teaching at several community colleges, Kuznick taught at the University of Maryland from 1978 to 1983 and became a Smithsonian Institution-George Mason University Joint Postdoctoral Fellow during the 1984-1985 academic year. He was hired by American University in 1986 as an assistant professor of history and now is a full professor of history at the university.

Kuznick was named Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians for a term from 2004 to 2013. He was a co-author, with film director Oliver Stone, of "The Untold History of the United States" and also helped Stone write a 10-part documentary series of the same name for the Showtime Network.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.