Project

Atomic Afterlives, Pacific Archives: Unsettling the Geographies and Science of Nuclear Colonialism in the Marshall Islands and Hawaii

Program

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships

Department

American Studies

Abstract

This project expands the history of US Cold War nuclear colonialism by focusing on the stories of Marshall Islanders who were subject to nuclear radiation exposure and forced displacement to Hawaii, especially the Big Island, as a result of US nuclear detonation programs in the Marshall Islands in the midcentury. The development of nuclear science and its attendant technologies, the slow violence of radiation exposure and bioaccumulation, and the accretive forms of displacement and dispossession that nuclear detonations catalyzed are all iterations of a specifically nuclear colonialism. This project situates conducted interviews and cultural analyses in relation to archival research from 1947-1968, during which the United States was the ÔÇťAdministering Authority'' over the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, of which the Marshalls were a part. This study is also a critique of the 20th century militarization of the Pacific, centering historic and contemporary demilitarization and decolonization efforts.