Another Roadside Attraction?

Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Oak Ridge, Tennessee

in Anthropology in Action

Nuclear tourism is rapidly becoming a popular industry that attracts a diverse international audience with interests in history, militarism, and anti-war activism. In some sites, nuclear tourism emphasizes the devastation of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while, at others, it draws on the past to present a future of environmental stewardship, technological achievement and scientific mastery of the earth's energy. In so doing, nuclear tourism becomes a well crafted strategy to stimulate sentiments of nationalism and civic pride, while authenticating a particular perspective of history, science and identity. This article discusses efforts to use cultural heritage of the Manhattan Project both as a marketing strategy to bring tourist dollars to the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and as a way to celebrate the community's past as a 'Secret City' and its central role in the development of the atomic bomb. This construction of cultural heritage, however, may disregard cultural rights in respect to environmental justice, health and human rights, and serve to authenticate the history of the atomic bomb as having a single moral imperative, divorced from the international arena in which nuclear science is currently being developed and debated.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

Anthropology in Action

Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice

Article Information

Issue Table of Contents

Google Scholar