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Bravo for the Marshallese Regaining Control in a Post-Nuclear, Post-Colonial World,9781111833848
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Bravo for the Marshallese Regaining Control in a Post-Nuclear, Post-Colonial World



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Wadsworth Publishing
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  • Bravo for the Marshallese Regaining Control in a Post-Nuclear, Post-Colonial World
    Bravo for the Marshallese Regaining Control in a Post-Nuclear, Post-Colonial World


This case study describes the role an applied anthropologist takes to help Marshallese communities understand the impact of radiation exposure on the environment and themselves, and addresses problems stemming from the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program conducted in the Marshall Islands from 1946-1958. The author demonstrates how the U.S. Government limits its responsibilities for dealing with the problems it created in the Marshall Islands. Through archival, life history, and ethnographic research, the author constructs a compelling history of the testing program from a Marshallese perspective. For more than five decades, the Marshallese have experienced the effects of the weapons testing program on their health and their environment. This book amplifies the voice of the Marshallese who share their knowledge about illnesses, premature deaths, and exile from their homelands. The author uses linguistic analysis to show how the Marshallese developed a unique radiation language to discuss problems related to their radiation exposure ? problems that never existed before the testing program. Drawing on her own experiences working with the Government of the Marshall Islands, the author emphasizes the role of an applied anthropologist in influencing policy, and empowering community leaders to seek meaningful remedies.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. 1
Setting the Stage: The Geography, Social/Political Organization, and Language of the Marshall Islandsp. 5
Location and Ecologyp. 5
Early Migrationp. 10
The Social and Political Structurep. 10
The Marshallese Language and Its Dialectsp. 12
A Colonial History of the Marshall Islandsp. 16
Colonial Expansionp. 16
U.S. Naval Administration of the Marshall Islandsp. 19
The Arrival of Anthropologistsp. 25
The Move toward Self-Governancep. 29
The Compact of Free Associationp. 30
The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Testing Programp. 34
The Official U.S. Government Account of the Eventsp. 34
The Limitations on U.S. Government Responsibilityp. 36
Declassified U.S. Government Documentsp. 39
Conclusionp. 49
Ethnography and a Marshallese Narrative of Historyp. 50
Witness Testimonies: March 1, 1954-The Day the U.S. Government Detonated the Bravo Shotp. 51
Witness Testimonies: Evacuation and the Decontamination Processp. 53
Witness Testimonies: Birth Defectsp. 54
Witness Testimonies: Other Medical and Environmental Problemsp. 55
Witness Testimonies: Interactions with U.S. Government Medical Providers and Scientistsp. 56
A Marshallese Narrative of Historyp. 57
Conclusionp. 59
Alienation from the Land: The Rongelap Experiencep. 60
The Importance of Geographyp. 60
The Importance of Landp. 61
Damage, Injury, and Lossp. 63
Experiences in Exilep. 64
The Loss of Self-Sufficiencyp. 66
Burialp. 69
Stigma/Psychological Problems among the "Bombed People"p. 71
Gender, Age, and Status in Exilep. 72
Conclusionp. 75
Language and the Testing Programp. 76
Radiation and a Colonial Language of Controlp. 76
Language as Resistancep. 79
Conclusionp. 92
Uncovering Themes in Linguistic Datap. 93
Assigning Responsibilityp. 94
Powerlessnessp. 98
Women's Reproductive Illnessesp. 101
A Unique Marshallese Radiation Languagep. 107
Conclusionp. 110
Changed Circumstances: Petitioning the U.S. Governmentp. 111
Advisory Committee on Changed Circumstancesp. 113
Content of the Petitionp. 113
Review of the Petitionp. 115
Conclusionp. 116
Other Case Studiesp. 117
Hiroshima/Nagasakip. 117
French Polynesiap. 120
Chernobylp. 123
Nevadap. 126
Hanfordp. 128
Subjects of Human Radiation Experimentationp. 133
Conclusionp. 135
Methods and Community Empowermentp. 136
Developing Bonds of Trustp. 136
Learning the Languagep. 136
Archival Researchp. 137
Access to Informationp. 137
Building on the Work of Othersp. 137
Life Story and Oral History Collectionp. 138
Local Counterparts and Key Informantsp. 139
Public Education and Training of Studentsp. 139
Transcription and Translationp. 141
Observationp. 142
Expect to Be Challengedp. 143
Fieldnotesp. 144
Repeat Visits to the Fieldp. 144
The Policy Realmp. 144
Methods of the NCT Projectp. 145
Conclusionp. 148
Competing Narratives of Historyp. 149
Flaws in the U.S. Government's Accounting of Historyp. 150
A New Narrative of Historyp. 152
Looking toward the Futurep. 153
The Failure of Reconciliation and the Mobility of Structural Violencep. 155
Rongelap Ultimatump. 156
Structural Violencep. 157
Mounting Tensionp. 158
Mixed Messagesp. 161
Applied and Public Anthropologyp. 163
Budgetary Cuts Threaten Lives of Washington's Hungry and Sickp. 163
Nuclear Claims Tribunalp. 165
Anthropology and the Rongelap Land Claimp. 166
Climate Change and Sea-Level Risep. 168
Conclusionp. 172
Bibliographyp. 175
Appendix Categories for Personal Injury Awards, Nuclear Claims Tribunalp. 182
Glossaryp. 184
Indexp. 185
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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