Speaker:  Leyla Tiglay, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

Rumors of an impending atomic experiment in Africa circulated in newspapers as early as 1956, four years before France conducted its first atomic test at the Reggane Testing Center in the Sahara in 1960. The late 1950s saw France's technological preparations, strained transatlantic relations due to complex nuclear alignments in Europe, and an unprecedented wave of anti-nuclear mobilization in decolonizing Africa. Using the French tests as a case study, this research aims to refine scholars and policymakers' understanding of how decolonization intrinsically influenced the formation of the current global nuclear landscape during this pivotal era in nuclear politics.

The presentation will focus specifically on the intersection of nuclear testing site construction in the Sahara in the 1950s and ongoing colonial resource extraction in the region. It will highlight the dynamics of a transitional shift to the postcolonial order in the former French empire, in which France's emerging nuclear weapons capabilities played a decisive role. 

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

For more information, email the International Security Program Assistant at susan_lynch@harvard.edu.