University of Tampere
Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social Research Programme (NSR)
Speakers Series 2017-2018, Spring
Dr Malcolm Graig, Liverpool John Moores University
"The Long Dreaded Islamic Bomb": America, Britain, and Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East, 1974-1991
From its first media appearance in the late 1970s, the ‘Islamic bomb’ has been a persistent presence in popular and official thinking about the proliferation of nuclear capabilities to the Middle East. The words are loaded with meaning. They imply that a nuclear weapon developed by an ‘Islamic’ nation would become the Islamic world’s shared property, a nuclear sword to wage jihad against the non-Muslim world. The Islamic bomb’s journey from the lips of Pakistani leaders Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Muhammad Zia ul-Haq to the silver screen, newsprint, and the pages of lurid works of fiction illuminates Western attitudes towards the spread of nuclear weapons and the Muslim world. The idea grew from Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions, but was popularised by western media institutions: the Guardian, New York Times, and Washington Post newspapers, and broadcasters such as CBS and the BBC. This talk will consider the nature of American and British policy towards the so-called Islamic bomb and Middle Eastern nuclear proliferation more generally. It intertwines the 'official' narratives emanating from national governments and policymakers with the 'unofficial' narratives created by media institutions, pundits, and fiction writers. This thus allows an exploration of the ways in which the Cold War, Islamic radicalism, Middle Eastern politics, South Asian rivalries, and fear of nuclear confrontation intersected and mingled.
What is the Speakers Series of the University of Tampere?
- The Speakers Series is a series of Studia Generalia Lectures in the Study of Society organized weekly by the University of Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social Research Programme (NSR). The lectures are given by the Research Fellows as well as the distinguished guests of the IASR and the NSR. For the programme, please check the IASR website www.uta.fi/iasr/lectures/.
Research Secretary Marjukka Virkajärvi, 050 318 6697, Marjukka.Virkajarvi@uta.fi