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Theses Doctoral

Under the Nuclear Sun: Ecocritical Literature and Anticolonial Struggle in the Pacific

Maurer, Anais

This dissertation argues that Pacific literature is haunted by a form of ecological aggression known as nuclear colonialism. The Pacific is the region of the world where Western nations tested most of their nuclear and thermonuclear weapons – an extreme form of colonial occupation that will impact both the land and the people for hundreds of thousands of years. This study analyzes Pacific works published post World War II, from Māori poet Hone Tuwhare’s 1964 collection of poetry to riMajel oral performer Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner’s 2017 videoart, focusing in particular on the francophone works of writers identifying as Kanak, Mā’ohi, and Ni-Vanuatu. Through a series of close-readings of this multilingual and transnational corpus, it argues that nuclear colonialism functions as a leitmotiv informing both the politics and the poetics of this anticolonial corpus, despite the fact that nuclear violence is often denounced in between the lines, through oblique and diffuse references mirroring the ubiquity of radioactivity itself.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
French and Romance Philology
Thesis Advisors
Diagne, Souleymane Bachir
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 5, 2018