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Hebatalla Taha, photo.

Hebatalla Taha


Hebatalla Taha, photo.

Everyday nuclear histories and futures in the Middle East, 1945–1948


  • Hebatalla Taha

Summary, in English

This article examines nuclear imaginaries in the Arabic-speaking Middle East. It situates people from the Arab world into nuclear thought, looking at how the atomic age rapidly became part of everyday lives. Embracing the idea that reality and fiction are not only deeply intertwined but also co-constitutive, it analyses everyday engagements with the nuclear condition in the aftermath of the bombing of Japan, across a wide range of sources. The article argues that these semi-fictional historical sources—memoirs, pseudo-scientific predictions, speculative reports published in newspapers, popular science books and even rumours—capture an affective moment at the beginning of the atomic age, which was marked by hysteria, widespread speculation and exaggeration. Discussions on nuclear weapons, precisely because the extent of their destruction seems unimaginable, blur the boundaries between ‘real’ and ‘fictional’, offering a unique opportunity to reflect on stories of world politics and on the tensions within historical International Relations.


  • MECW: The Middle East in the Contemporary World
  • Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)
  • Department of Political Science

Publishing year





Cambridge Review of International Affairs

Document type

Journal article


Taylor & Francis


  • History and Archaeology
  • Political Science




  • ISSN: 0955-7571