Centre interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux stratégiques (CIENS)

Year 2023-2024 > Semester 2

European nuclear trajectories

European nuclear trajectories
This research seminar is led by Frédéric Gloriant and Pierre-Louis Six.

Format: 6 sessions of 2 hours, 3 ECTS. This course is validated as part of the DENS program. It is also one of the accredited courses in the “European Studies” minor.

Contacts: frederic.gloriant@ens.psl.eu and pierre-louis.six@ens.psl.eu

Schedule: the seminar will take place in the second semester of the 2023-2024 academic year, on Tuesdays from 5pm to 7pm (schedule subject to slight modifications depending on the availability of our guests).

Location: 45 rue d’Ulm, salle 3 du Pôle Ressources Lettres (couloir jaune, 2nd floor).

First session: Tuesday February 6, 5pm-7pm, Salle 3 Lettres (PRL)

Seminar presentation:

This seminar will offer an overview of the nuclear trajectories of various European countries (UK, Germany, Italy, Ukraine), basing each session on a work that a leading specialist in the nuclear history of the country in question will be invited to present. The aim is to establish divergences and convergences, reciprocal influences and counter-influences, and other phenomena of circulation. At the end of the semester, we’ll take a look back at the historiography of military nuclear power in France, with a round-table discussion on the European dimension of French deterrence, present at least implicitly from the outset, and which has undergone a number of changes without ever really materializing.

Assessment methods:

Each session will feature a speaker, either a historian or a political scientist, and several recommended readings, in English or French. The seminar will be conducted in English or French.

Assessment will take into account attendance at sessions, oral participation during the seminar and a final test involving the writing of a mini-research paper (format: 7 to 10 pages, i.e. 3000-4000 words) on a topic of your choice related to the seminar.

Provisional schedule of sessions:

Session 1 – Tuesday February 6: General presentation of the seminar / The UK’s nuclear trajectory

Speakers: Frédéric GLORIANT and Pierre-Louis SIX

Session 2 – Tuesday March 12: Euratom and the European “nuclear order

Guest: Grégoire MALLARD (Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva), author of Fallout: Nuclear Diplomacy in an Age of Global Fracture, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Session 3 – Tuesday March 19: Ukraine’s nuclear trajectory since the end of the Cold War

Guest: Mariana BUDJERYN (Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard, Kennedy School’s Belfer Center), author of Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023.

Session 4 – Tuesday, May 7: West Germany’s nuclear trajectory during the Cold War

Guest: Andreas LUTSCH (Junior Professor, Hochschule des Bundes für öffentliche Verwaltung, Department of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, Berlin), author of Westbindung oder Gleichgewicht? Die nukleare Sicherheitspolitik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland zwischen Atomwaffensperrvertrag und NATO-Doppelbeschluss, Berlin, De Gruyter Oldenburg, 2019.

Session 5 – Tuesday May 14: a “Young researchers” round table (link to register here) will look at various aspects of France’s nuclear policy. Three doctoral students will present their work:


Inoue Masatoshi (EHESS / Centre Alexandre-Koyré and Centre d’étude des mouvements sociaux) will focus on “The visibility and invisibility of victims: revisiting the reception of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in post-war France”.

Manatea TAIARUI (University of French Polynesia / Pacific Doctoral School) will focus on French nuclear testing in the Pacific during the Cold War (1963-1975).

Florian Gallleri (Nantes University / CRHIA) will examine the European dimension of deterrence after the Cold War.

Venue: 45 rue d’Ulm, Rez-de-Chaussée, Salle Beckett.

Session 6 – Wednesday May 15, 6 pm to 8 pm: Italy’s nuclear trajectory during the Cold War.

Guest: Leopoldo Nuti, Professor of the History of International Relations at the University of Rome III and author of La sfida nucleare: la politica estera italiana e le armi atomiche 1945-1991, Bologna, Italy, Il Mulino, 2007.

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