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What do we learn about nuclear politics if we take families and homes as our starting point? Feminists argue that the personal and the political are intertwined. Thus families and homes shape nuclear politics and are shaped by it – with some families and homes much more affected than others. The aim of these picture-based activities is to help you to critical reflect on how the domestic sphere and our intimate and family relationships are entangled with the nuclear world. 


This learning activity consists of two main tasks. For the first, you will be asked to study images of Cold War-era fallout shelters and of mock-up homes from the Nevada test site. You will critically analyse these images before drawing your own family’s fallout shelter, and reflecting on what it reveals about your family life and about your conceptions of nuclear disaster.


For the second task, you will be asked to investigate images of the town of Oak Ridge in Tennessee, which produced uranium for the Manhattan Project; of housing in the adjacent Pacific islands of Ebeye and Kwajalein; and of refugee camps for those displaced by the nuclear accident in in Fukushima prefecture in Japan. After discussing a series of questions about these images, you will produce a collage to illustrate the real-world impact of nuclear technologies on homes and families.  

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Divisible Explanation This activity consists of two tasks, 'The Ideal Nuclear Family' and 'Mobile Homes' which could be separated into two class sessions if required. The tasks should be understaken in the set order, however, in order to drive home the gulf between imagined and actual impacts.
Learning Objectives
  • identify the disparities between dominant cultural imaginaries of nuclear harms on households and the actual harms
  • evaluate the potential impact of nuclear harm on your own home and wider community
  • recognise the particular impacts on different communities' homes
  • evaluate whose homes and families have been most affected, how and why

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