Radiation Songs and Transpacific Resonances of US Imperial Transits
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Radiation Songs and Transpacific Resonances of US Imperial Transits

  • Author(s): Schwartz, Jessica A.
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license
Abstract

Abstract

This article listens to Marshallese radiation songs to hear how singers subject to US nuclear colonial practices—including US nuclear testing (1946–1958), extant displacement, and human radiation experimentation—continue to be ignored in official capacities, even after nuclear colonialism officially ended with the Republic of the Marshall Islands’s sovereignty through the Compact of Free Association (1986). US nuclear imperialism is persistent given the establishment of these official spaces where the Marshall Islands and United States governments are allowed to interact, politically, and the radiation communities, particularly women subject to disproportionate impacts from nuclear colonialism, are denied entrance or, (literally and metaphorically), voice. Radiation songs, which detail the ongoing and systemic violences of US nuclear imperialism, are ways that singers subversively make their petitions to US citizens and governmental representatives heard. Songs challenge the exclusionary modern systems (law, politics, mass media, biomedicine) that continue to claim specialized knowledge by advancing Marshallese epistemologies, sensibilities, and embodied, or lived experiences of nuclear violence. As a matter of the health humanities in transnational context, the uneven development of the global working class through constitutive colonial conditions and durative imperial networks are matters this essay points up.

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