Call for contributions for the panel ‚Anti-Nuclear-Protest in the 1970s and 1980s in a transnational perspective: Europe and beyond‘ at the European Environmental History Conference, Munich, 20-24 August 2013, panel organizers: Astrid Mignon Kirchhof and Jan-Henrik Meyer

In many European countries and beyond, the rise of a mass environmental movement in the 1970s is closely linked to the protest against nuclear power plants, uranium mining and nuclear testing. So far the story of anti-nuclear activism has mainly been told from a strictly national or – at best nationally comparative – perspective. However, we suggest that it is important to highlight the transnational dimension. Not only did transnational contacts and exchange play an important role for the strength of anti-nuclear protest, but it also reflects the contemporary perception among activists that the nuclear threat was an international or „transnational“ issue. To mention only two examples: The fight of Swiss, French, and German activists on the upper Rhine in the early 1970s or the battle of indigenous people of Australia against uranium mining and the support they gained from German nuclear critics.

The goal of this panel is to explore the role of transnational exchange between anti-nuclear movements not only in Europe, but also on a wider global scale. Core questions relate to the contents of the exchange – e.g. information, arguments or protest practices, the relevant networks and actors, as well as the conditions facilitating or inhibiting such exchange. Moreover, we would like to investigate in how far transnational networks were still strongly influenced by nation states and in this context raise the question if it were transnational movements which were interacting or rather individual activists that networked internationally.

The temporal scope of this panel is based on the assumption that anti-nuclear protest underwent substantial change in the course of the two decades before the end of the Cold War. Our hypothesis is that the focus of anti-nuclear protest – in Europe at least – shifted from the struggle against nuclear power plants in the 1970s, to protest against nuclear arms in the early 1980s, and back to nuclear power in the wake of Chernobyl. One of the goals of this panel is to examine whether such a chronology will stand the empirical test – and to what extent this holds for (Western) Europe only.

We are inviting papers focusing on transnational exchange between anti-nuclear movements worldwide. We specifically encourage contributions dealing with ideas that were developed by initiatives and groups as well as their transnational practices and protest forms against the civil and military uses, including protest against uranium mining and reprocessing plants in all parts of the world.

Complete CfP at the ESEH website