Expertise and the Nuclear Pacific

in on December 17, 2023

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The purpose of this task is to engage with questions of whose expertise gets heard and why. What types of power are associated with the different types of expertise and what are the implications of these differences in power? Below are links to three sources of information on the nuclear testing that states conducted over several decades across the Pacific. The task is to read and watch these different forms of expertise and answer the associated questions.

 

1. Scientific expertise

Link:  https://moruroa-files.org/en/investigation/moruroa-files 

 

Questions:

  • What forms of authority do the website’s claims rest on? 

  • What type of knowledge is produced in the Moruroa Files? 

  • Does this website reproduce or challenge the technostrategic discourse that Carol Cohn identifies in the core reading?

  • Do you find this expertise convincing and why?

 

2. Lived experience

Link: Pacific Women Speak Out: A report made up of testimony from Pacific women from 1998. https://assets.website-files.com/5b43f3f705b1ce380ccbdaed/5bd635b5019ddf29da2e9b0e_Pacific%20Women%20Speak%20Out.pdf 

Read Chapter 2. For the Good of Mankind by Darlene Keju-Johnson and Chapter 3 Marshall Islands Learning from Rongelap’s Pain by Lijon Eknilang.

 

Questions:

  • What is the source of the expertise of the authors of this report? 

  • In what ways does the Talei Luscia Mangioni core reading provide a broader context for these testimonies? 

  • How does this contrast with the claims to expertise in the Morurua Files website? 

  • What type of knowledge and expertise do you hear most in nuclear policy? Why do you think this is? 

3. Poetry and the arts

Link: History Project, a recording of poet Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner at the Southbank Centre London.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIIrrPyK0eU

 

Questions:

  • What form of knowledge is being expressed here? 

  • What do you think Jetil-Kijiner is saying about translating between different forms of knowledge? 

  • How does this work build on the archive of Pacific Poetry in the core reading by Rebecca H. Hogue and Anaïs Maurer?

  • How does this work relate to a feminist view of the nuclear world?

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  • The aim of this activity is to encounter and critically evaluate different forms of nuclear expertise. Feminism tells us that knowledge is not neutral but political, shaped by things like gender, race, and class. Some forms of knowledge are valued over others and some people are heard whilst others are silenced. These tasks will help you to identify and challenge the knowledge hierarchies in the nuclear field.

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