Thesis ID: CBB001560719

“Scientific Colonialism”: Scientific Practice and Chicana/o Identity in an American Southwest Technopole (2004)


Guillen, Reynal Reginio (Author)

University of California, Los Angeles
Traweek, Sharon

Publication Date: 2004
Edition Details: Advisor: Traweek, Sharon
Physical Details: 394 pp.
Language: English

In November 1942, General Groves and Oppenheimer chose the Manhattan Project "Site Y " at Los Alamos, New Mexico to construct the atomic bomb. Since then, the Los Alamos laboratory has had a provocative local sociocultural history. The "social contract, " a "scientific colonialism, " between the science city and its neighboring communities is exemplified by structures, ideologies and practices in the localized political economy that subordinated Hispanics and Pueblo Indians. Chapters 1 and 2 introduce the problem and survey the bodies of literature needed to analyze this topic's complexity. Chapters 3 and 4 comprise the origin and character of the scientific colonialism. Chapter 3 shows the economic history leading up to the intrusion; the Army's dispossession of Spanish homesteaders; the strong sense of community that developed in the military landscape; and the science city organization. Chapter 4 details how the Los Alamos "big science " technopole subordinated the local Spanish and pueblo Indian through the societal structures of nationalist science policy, education, economics and management practices. Laboratory managers focused on national science policies while neglecting local interests. Secondary schools maintained educational disparities with neighbors and higher education ranked social status. Procurement policies excluded local businesses from primary contractor status and sixty years of billion dollar funding did not enhance neighbor's economic status; and the only forum for community representation was prematurely disbanded by the DOE. Chapter 5 documents labor opposition to discriminatory management practices. Hispanic underrepresentation in upper level management and scientist positions has been a historical problem. In 1995, a grass-roots labor organization challenged management practices when the Director laid off "support staff " to increase scientific productivity. In the end, managers fired a disproportionately large amount of Hispanic employees. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs confirmed the discriminatory charges filed against the laboratory and University of California forcing a settlement. The final chapter examines the "social contract " between science and society; qualifications on the scientific colonialism model; and ideological dichotomies that transformed local people's cultural distinctiveness into subordination.


Description On the scientific laboratory at Los Alamos and the history of its relationship with the local Hispanic population. Cited in Diss. Abstr. Int. A 65 (2005): 3136. UMI pub. no. 3142570.

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Authors & Contributors
Masco, Joseph
Oppenheimer, Frank
Conant, Jennet
Hunner, Jon H.
Hull, McAllister H.
Bianco, Amy
Physics in Perspective
科学史研究 Kagakusi Kenkyu (History of Science)
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
American Ethnologist
Public Culture
Structural Chemistry: Computational and Experimental Studies of Chemical and Biological Systems
Simon & Schuster
University of New Mexico
University of Oklahoma Press
University of New Mexico Press
School for Advanced Research Press
University of Minnesota Press
Manhattan Project
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Science and war; science and the military
Cold War
Oppenheimer, J. Robert
Hull, McAllister H.
Chapman, Kenneth Milton
Groves, Leslie R.
Oliphant, Mark
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
19th century
United States
New Mexico (U.S.)
Soviet Union
Tennessee (U.S.)
Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
University of California
Rockefeller Foundation
Cavendish Laboratory
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
California Institute of Technology

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