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Alien Still Life: Distilling the Toxic Logics of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge

Alien Still Life: Distilling the Toxic Logics of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge “Alien still life” examines the conversion of Rocky Flats, a plutonium factory located near Denver, Colorado, from a nuclear weapons plant to a national wildlife refuge. It argues that the territorial and administrative category of ‘wildlife refuge’ aided an incentives-based cleanup and accelerated turnover of the site to the public as a limited-use recreational space, in the process ‘fixing’ waste to external wilderness. Simultaneously, the technique of ‘legacy management’, a response to the growing number of decommissioned and remediated US Department of Energy nuclear facilities, mobilizes the reduction, containment, and/or denial of Rocky Flats's history and toxicity through discursive and territorial means, such as the portrayal of nature as purity. The resultant ‘alien still life’ marks the voids in the public record, the alienation of the environment from former Rocky Flats workers, and the reconceptualization of ethics necessary to challenge the suspension of politics achieved by the nature refuge fix. The paper tracks subtle shifts in the memory, rhetoric, and politics needed to convert the industrial territory of Rocky Flats to a ‘wild’ space. In an effort to counteract the spectacle of nature as purity, and to reimagine an environmental ethics and political ecology attentive to waste, the layered narrative approach seeks to ‘put waste back into nature’, confronting the radioactive legacies of the Cold War. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Environment and Planning D: Society and Space SAGE

Alien Still Life: Distilling the Toxic Logics of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge

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References (77)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 2011 SAGE Publications
ISSN
0263-7758
eISSN
1472-3433
DOI
10.1068/d12809
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

“Alien still life” examines the conversion of Rocky Flats, a plutonium factory located near Denver, Colorado, from a nuclear weapons plant to a national wildlife refuge. It argues that the territorial and administrative category of ‘wildlife refuge’ aided an incentives-based cleanup and accelerated turnover of the site to the public as a limited-use recreational space, in the process ‘fixing’ waste to external wilderness. Simultaneously, the technique of ‘legacy management’, a response to the growing number of decommissioned and remediated US Department of Energy nuclear facilities, mobilizes the reduction, containment, and/or denial of Rocky Flats's history and toxicity through discursive and territorial means, such as the portrayal of nature as purity. The resultant ‘alien still life’ marks the voids in the public record, the alienation of the environment from former Rocky Flats workers, and the reconceptualization of ethics necessary to challenge the suspension of politics achieved by the nature refuge fix. The paper tracks subtle shifts in the memory, rhetoric, and politics needed to convert the industrial territory of Rocky Flats to a ‘wild’ space. In an effort to counteract the spectacle of nature as purity, and to reimagine an environmental ethics and political ecology attentive to waste, the layered narrative approach seeks to ‘put waste back into nature’, confronting the radioactive legacies of the Cold War.

Journal

Environment and Planning D: Society and SpaceSAGE

Published: Apr 1, 2011

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