African History Workshop - "Atomic Junction: Nuclear Power in Africa after Independence"

African History Workshop
Event date: 
October 4, 2019 -
1:30pm to 3:00pm
Abena Dove Osseo-Asare
University of Texas
Seminar Series: 
African History Workshop
Co-Sponsored by: 
Program in History of Science

Atomic Junction: Nuclear Power in Africa after Independence

Abena Dove Osseo-Asare, University of Texas

For more information on this workshop, including the pre-circulated reading, please contact Ray Thornton at

 "After Atomic Junction, along the Haatso- Atomic Road there lies the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, home to Africa’s first nuclear program after independence. Traveling along this road, Abena Dove Osseo-Asare gathers together stories of conflict and compromise on an African nuclear frontier. She speaks with a generation of African scientists who became captivated with “the atom” and studied in the Soviet Union to make nuclear physics their own. On Pluton Lane and Gamma Avenue, these scientists displaced quiet farming villages in their bid to establish a scientific metropolis, creating an epicenter for Ghana’s nuclear physics community. By placing interviews with town leaders, physicists, and local entrepreneurs alongside archival records, Osseo-Asare explores the impact of scientific pursuit on areas surrounding the reactor, focusing on how residents came to interpret activities on these “Atomic Lands.” This combination of historical research and personal and ethnographic observations shows how Ghanaians now stand at a crossroads, where some push to install more reactors, whilst others merely seek pipe- borne water."

Abena Dove Osseo-Asare is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin, holds a secondary appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health at UT’s Dell Medical School, and is a serving member of the editorial boards of Endeavour and Social History of Medicine. She is the author of Bitter Roots: The Search for Healing Plants in Africa (2014), which was awarded the Melville J.  Herskovits Prize in African Studies and the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Book Prize.   

Ray Raymond Thornton
Area of Interest: