Peter Kuznick, Professor of History at American University, is the author of "Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists As Political Activists in 1930s America" (University of Chicago Press) and the co-editor with James Gilbert of "Rethinking Cold War Culture" (Smithsonian Institution Press). A New York native, Kuznick received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1984. He was active in the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements and remains active in antiwar and nuclear abolition efforts. A critic of the U.S. decision to use atomic bombs in World War II, he publishes and speaks frequently on that topic, other aspects of nuclear history, and 20th Century U.S. history in general.
In 1995, he founded American University's Nuclear Studies Institute, which he directs. That year, on the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings, the Institute and the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki coordinated a major exhibit at American University. Every summer since 1995, he takes Institute students to study abroad in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. The Institute was named the most creative and innovative summer program in North America by the North American Association of Summer Sessions.
In 2003, Kuznick organized a group of scholars, writers, artists, clergy, and activists to protest the Smithsonian's display of the Enola Gay in a celebratory fashion devoid of historical context or information about the victims of the atomic bombings. As part of this effort, he confounded the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy. He subsequently cofounded the Nuclear Education Project along with Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and professors Mark Selden (Cornell University) and John Dower (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Kuznick's recent projects include a book on scientists and the Vietnam War, and another that flows from his Journal of Genocide Research article. The book examines how the evolving understanding that nuclear war could lead to annihilation of all life on the planet has shaped the behavior and views of military strategists, policymakers, and the public.
He is currently serving his second three-year term as Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer and regularly provides commentary for U.S. and international media, including the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Times, CBS Sunday Morning, Entertainment Tonight, C-SPAN, Fox News Channel, CNN, Al Jazeera, Chile's El Mercurio, Iran's Fars News, Radio Free Europe, Reuters, and Voice of America, as well as many Japanese newspapers and television stations.
Peter is married and has one daughter and two stepdaughters.