Nuclear Poison Gas Cloud
- Nuclear Poison Gas Cloud
- Alternate Title:
- Nuclear Poison Gas Cloud
- Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection
- Bunge, William
- Posted Date:
- ID Number:
- File Name:
- 1960 - Present
Politics & Government
- page 20 x 14 (centimeters, height x width)
- This map by William Bunge, a radical geographer and peace activist, uses a red overlay to portray a "Nuclear poison gas cloud" over Europe, resulting from the meltdown of "West German 'peaceful' nuclear reactors" caused by a nuclear attack. "Nuclear war inevitably makes peaceful atomic power into a war weapon."
William Bunge is a colorful and fascinating figure in the history of post-World War II cartography: “spatial scientist,” “cult hero,” “disciplinary bad boy” and “radical geographic crusader.” Barney 2015, 192; see generally ibid. 192-214. As a young academic at Wayne State University in the early 1960s, Bunge moved to Fitzgerald, a one-square mile ghetto neighborhood of Detroit. The social turmoil of the time, particularly the 1967 Detroit riots, led him to undertake an extensive "democratic as opposed to an elitist expedition" of the neighborhood. Barnes 2011, 713. His work, eventually published as Fitzgerald: Geography of a Revolution (1971), is described - even by one of its enthusiastic supporters - as "a tortured book, controversial, angry, partial, withering, and hyperbolic. . . . at the polar end of traditional academic scholarship." Ibid. 712. See, e.g., ID #2156.01, “Direction of Money Transfers in Metropolitan Detroit.”
Bunge was denied tenure by Wayne State as a result of obscenity charges. In 1968 the House Un-American Activities Committee blacklisted him, along with other "radicals," from speaking on American campuses. (His name was listed between H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael.) At that point, he moved to Canada and became a "nomad cartographer," seeking visiting lectureships, working with underground publishers - and driving a cab in Toronto. Barney 195; Barnes 714.
In 1982, he produced the first version of his "Nuclear War Atlas," ID #2364 (not yet online). This work is in the form of a large poster, folded down to a pamphlet-sized 5 x 8 inches, and it was distributed at peace rallies and demonstrations. Barnes 200. Barnes 200. Bunge greatly expanded the number of maps (from 28 to 57) and the supporting text for the eventual publication of the Atlas in book form in 1988. See ID ##2188.01-.09. Bunge wrote in the Preface to the book (at ix), "Hopefully, at last my fellow revolutionaries will show some keen interest in conducting revolution without annihilation." Three of the maps in the collection from the Nuclear War Atlas are based on Bunge's earlier Detroit research: ID #2188.06, Children's Automobile "Accidents" in Detroit; ID #2188.08, Detroit's Infant Mortality Compared with Foreign Countries, and ID #2188.09, Region of Rat-Bitten Babies.
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- Bunge, William. 1988. Nuclear War Atlas. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
- Private Collection of PJ Mode
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