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.
The Atomic Archipelago
My first book The Atomic Archipelago: US Nuclear Submarines and Technopolitics of Risk in Cold War Italy (University of Pittsburgh Press, Spring 2022) is the first systematic study of nuclear expertise in Italy and advances an original analysis of risk in marine environments and of technopolitical disputes over the safety of nuclear submarines. The book 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.
With the financial support of the EU Marie Sklodowska Curie IF Action program (Project 101025603, Horizon 2020) for the next two years I will work at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, under the supervision of Dr. Helmuth Trischler. My new book length project, tentatively titled Half-lives/Afterlives: Labor, Technology, Nature, and the Decommissioning Business (acronym: NUCLEARDECOM) 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.