Over the past several decades, the nuclear field has developed a classical canon of seemingly sacred texts. These works are likely to be assigned in university-level courses on nuclear policy across the United States and the globe. Over the past few years, however, the nuclear field – just as affected by hierarchies and injustices as other social milieus – has been shaken by calls to critically rethink the global nuclear predicament and engage with more diverse voices and perspectives. This must involve interrogating the transmitter of nuclear knowledge: the academic syllabus. It is imperative to revisit how nuclear courses are taught, what questions are raised, and what texts are assigned. Accordingly, MTA brings together a group of exceptional scholars and long-time teachers of nuclear history and politics to discuss challenges, discoveries, frustrations, and the importance of teaching the bomb in the 21st century.

While this virtual event is on the record, the event organizers prohibit any attendees, including journalists, from audio/visual recording or distributing parts or all of the event program without prior written authorization.

Moderator: Mariana Budjeryn, MTA Belfer


Anne Harrington, Cardiff University, Highly NRiched

Dr. Anne I. Harrington is an associate professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom. She has held fellowships at major universities in the US and Europe, including the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. In 2013-2014, she worked for the United States Congress as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, first as a National Security Fellow in the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and then at the Congressional Research Service. Her research on nuclear nonproliferation, deterrence and disarmament has appeared among other places, in Millennium, the Nonproliferation Review, Foreign Policy, and The New York Times. She is a co-founder of Highly Nriched, a nonpartisan, crowdsourced, online platform for teaching resources on nuclear issues.

Rebecca Davis Gibbons, University of Southern Maine

Rebecca Davis Gibbons is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Southern Maine. She previously served as a fellow and associate of the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her book The Hegemon’s Tool Kit: US Leadership and the Politics of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime was published by Cornell University Press in 2022.

David Holloway, Stanford University

David HOLLOWAY is the Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History, a professor of history and political science, and a senior fellow at the Freeman-Spogli Institute (FSI) for International Studies at Stanford University, Emeritus. He was co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford from 1991 to 1997, and director of FSI from 1998 to 2003.

Before coming to Stanford, Holloway taught at the University of Lancaster and the University of Edinburgh. Born and raised in Ireland, he received his BA/MA in modern languages and literature, and his PhD in social and political sciences, both from Cambridge University.

Holloway is the author of The Soviet Union and the Arms Race (Yale University Press, 1983) and Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939-1956 (Yale University Press, 1994). He co-authored (with Sidney Drell and Philip Farley) The Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative: Technical, Political and Arms Control Assessment (Ballinger, 1984). He co-edited, with Leopoldo Nuti, The Making of the Global Nuclear Order in the 1970s: Issues and Consequences (Routledge, 2021) 265 pp. His current research and writing focus on the international history of nuclear wepons.

Karthika Sasikumar, San Jose State University

Karthika Sasikumar began her education in Hyderabad, India. From 1995 to 1999, she was a student at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, where she earned Master's and M.Phil Degrees from the School of International Studies.

Dr. Sasikumar received her Ph.D. from the Government Department at Cornell University in 2006. Her dissertation explores the interaction between India and the international nuclear nonproliferation order.

Before coming to San Jose State University, where she is a Professor of Political Science, Dr. Sasikumar was a Program Associate at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an Associate in the International Security Program at Harvard University’s  Kennedy School of Government, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has also been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia’s  Liu Institute for Global Issues in Vancouver, and a Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and CooperationStanford University.

In 2010-11, she spent a year at the Belfer Center as the first Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow. She is the Vice-Chair of the SJSU Senate, and the co-editor of the Journal of Political and Military Sociology. She has served as a mentor in the Preparing Future Professors Program, and as the Co-PI for the university’s Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence.

Her research and teaching interests are in International Relations theory, international regimes, global security, migration, and national identity.