Desert(ed) geographies: cartographies of nuclear testing

  • Joe Lockard


The paper analyses cartographies of nuclearism and colonial-native relations in terms of the exclusions in nuclear testing maps. It considers maps from French and British nuclear tests at Mururoa in the South Pacific and Maralinga in Australia. The paper argues that these maps rely on older Euro-American cartographic and narrative traditions of imagining empty and deserted territories in order to advance political arguments for the displacement and deterritorialisation of native peoples who occupy nuclear testing areas. Such official government nuclear cartography reproduces a colonial narrative of native abandonment. The explicit spatial expansionism of nuclear testing maps emphasises that control of place is the crux of the struggle for an anti-nuclear narrative strategy.