I am a historian and anthropologist. My research is openly interdisciplinary and focuses on traditional and emerging problems in STS: the role of materiality in technoscientific practices, epistemology and the production of ignorance, historical ontology, the relationship between technology and the environment, and the phenomenology of risk perception.

Life in the Nuclear Archipelago

My first book project, Life in the Nuclear Archipelago: Experts, Publics, US Nuclear Submarines, and the Technopolitics of Risk Perception in Cold War Italy, is the first systematic study of nuclear expertise in Italy and advances an original approach to the study of risk in marine environments and on technopolitical disputes over the safety of nuclear submarines. The study is based on archival and ethnographic research I conducted over the past nine years in the Archipelago of La Maddalena, where in 1972 the U.S. Navy installed a base for nuclear submarines to surveil Soviet activities in the Mediterranean Sea. My analysis explores how Italian expert authorities, U.S. Navy personnel stationed in La Maddalena, and local residents assessed radiological risk in the archipelago.

Credit: US National Archives. Author: unknown, 1984. A starboard beam view of the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS BATON ROUGE (SSN 689) underway near La Maddalena, Italy.

From the archive

Half-lives/Afterlives

My new book length project, tentatively titled Half-lives/Afterlives: Labor, Technology, Nature, and the Decommissioning Business, is a comparative study of the complex process of nuclear power plants decommissioning in Western Europe. While the existing literature is mostly concerned with the problem of waste disposal and the diplomatic, scientific, and social struggles around its solution, Half-lives/Afterlives explores all the phases of decommissioning from a socio-technical and site-specific perspective. My main research questions are: What does it take to dismantle a nuclear plant? Who works on decommissioning, besides nuclear engineers, top regulators, and financial operators? How do the reactor design, operating history, and ecological characteristics of the site shape decommissioning strategies, costs, and outcomes? What becomes of a site after decommissioning?

Photo credit: Tatiano Maiore, La Maddalena, 1973. A U.S. Navy nuclear submarine approaches the base of S. Stefano.

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