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Self-determination, disability aesthetics and (refusals of) voice in the US‐RMI Compact of Free Association

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Abstract

This article uses the framework of disability and voice to consider the consequences of nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands among the Marshallese diaspora. The valorization of the voice as it signals the agentive individual is a modern phenomenon that denigrates the breadth of human and nonhuman movements through which Marshallese matrilineal agency is understood. I argue that Marshallese songs thus offer a testament to the myth of contemporary liberalism through vocalizations that resound the complex constellation of physical, mental and emotional ailments imposed upon the Marshallese (e.g., thyroid, sickness, 'denigrated intellect', etc.).
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Keywords: agency; disability aesthetics; embodiment; imperialism; self-determination; vocality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2019

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  • JIVS provides a forum for scholarly and practice-based engagement with voice as a phenomenon of communication and performance, and a methodology or metaphor for analysis. This peer-reviewed journal draws on an interdisciplinary series of lenses, including cultural studies, critical theory, performance studies, inter-culturalism, linguistics, visual culture, musicology, architecture and somatics.
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