Logo der Universität Wien
You are here:>University of Vienna >Writing Pugwash Histories

Areas of Concentration

Research field 1: Pugwash in the context of the New Diplomatic History

International interactions involving individuals, groups, and organisations operating outside government have become an important category of analysis for the Cold War. Members of the research network “Writing Pugwash Histories” focus on the transnational scientific actors themselves, emphasizing their agency and impact in influencing global decisions on nuclear war and peace, rather than on governmental involvement or influence. This opens up for analysis more informal negotiation processes about which, to date, less is known. Geopolitically, the analytical focus includes but also seeks to move beyond the nuclear superpowers – United States and USSR – to those countries that did not have nuclear weapons. Emphasis is placed on multilateral rather than bilateral negotiation processes, involving both government and non-state representatives.

Research field 2: Pugwash and transnational peace movements

The second field of research ties in with research on the peace movements in Western Germany and the UK, and on the transnational dimensions of protest movements during the Cold War. The research network “Writing Pugwash Histories” involves researchers who are interested in the strategies of demarcation, and of cooperation among Pugwash-related scientists and representatives of the so-called New Social Movements.

Research field 3: Pugwash-related scientists as nuclear experts

The third field of research focuses on the ways in which scientists brought their expertise to bear upon discourse about the development and dangers of both the peaceful civilian and military uses of nuclear energy. Members of the research network “Writing Pugwash Histories” investigate changes in the category of "nuclear expert" over time: Were there differences in the disciplinary affiliations of the “nuclear expert”? What qualification(s) were needed to claim and play a role as this kind of “expert"? Was there a consensus as to the need for specific kinds of expertise in order to be able for scientists to speak legitimately and authoritatively to the range of problems engendered by nuclear weapons?

University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0