Julie Williams was awarded a grant from UNM’s Feminist Research Institute for travel to Las Vegas, NV to conduct research on Cold War-era atomic history. She will conduct archival research at the UNLV Special Collections, looking through over 100 oral history interviews and 20 differnt photo collections in order to find further information on atomic tourism promoted by Las Vegas hotels and casinos throughout the 1950s. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce promoted the atomic blasts as a cultural experience, providing a schedule of detonations and suggestions for the best places to view the blasts, mostly hotels and casinos that held viewing parties with gambling, atomic cocktails, and atomic beauty pageants. The beauty queens crowned variations of “Miss Atomic Bomb” from 1952-1957 are of particular interest to Williams, whose dissertation “Embodying the West: A Literary and Cultural History of Environment, Body, and Belief” brings together a diverse archive of narratives about bodies excluded from cultural conceptions of the West: women with non-normative gender and sexual identities, American Indian women writers, TB patients, people with disabilities, and atomic beauty queens.
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