Loading Events

Colonial Toxicity

Samia Henni, historian

Tue, 3/26 · 5:00 pm6:30 pm · Room N107, School of Architecture

Program in Media and Modernity

Between 1960 and 1966, the French colonial regime detonated four atmospheric atomic bombs, thirteen underground nuclear bombs and conducted other nuclear experiments in the Algerian Sahara, whose natural resources were being extracted in the process. This secret nuclear weapons programme, whose archives are still classified, occurred during and after the Algerian Revolution, or the Algerian War of Independence (1954–62). Colonial Toxicity: Rehearsing French Radioactive Architecture and Landscape in the Sahara brings together nearly six hundred pages of materials documenting this violent history of France’s nuclear bomb programme in the Algerian desert. Meticulously culled together by the architectural historian from across available, offered, contraband, and leaked sources, the book is a rich repository for all those concerned with histories of nuclear weapons and engaged at the intersections of spatial, social and environmental justice, as well as anticolonial archival practices.

Samia Henni is a historian of the built, destroyed and imagined environments. She is the author of the multi-award-winning Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (gta Verlag 2017, EN; Editions B42, 2019, FR), and Colonial Toxicity: Rehearsing French Radioactive Architecture and Landscape in the Sahara (If I Can’t Dance, Framer Framed, edition fink, 2024), and the editor of Deserts Are Not Empty (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2022) and War Zones (gta Verlag, 2018).

Humanities Council Logo
Italian Studies Logo
American Studies Logo
Humanistic Studies Logo
Ancient World Logo
Canadian Studies Logo
ESC Logo
Journalism Logo
Linguistics Logo
Medieval Studies Logo
Renaissance Logo
Film Studies Logo