Affiliation at time of award:
Department of History
University of California, Davis
Photo courtesy of Lisa Herron
Tewa Pueblos at the Dawn of Atomic Modernity
Tewa storytellers knew that the sun could be captured—a boy had once done it because of misplaced anger. The atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 also harnessed the power of the sun, and the world continues to grapple with the legacy of the Manhattan Project and the accomplishment of Site Y, also known as Los Alamos, New Mexico. In the valley below Los Alamos, the Tewa peoples maintained distinct political identities and worlds of meaning but were neither removed from nor unaffected by the incursion of the people and technology that forever changed the world.
Few Tewa elders live today who remember the Manhattan Project, and it is time for their stories to be told. Without their perspectives, their stories of accommodation, and their expressions in language and art, our view of the atomic age remains incomplete. Brown’s research and interviews with the Tewa elders relate the stories and personal narratives of the Tewa world to recontextualize atomic modernity. His work links humanistic and scientific thought, bridges modern and traditional perspectives, and explores the dialogue between physics, history, and Tewa philosophy.