Go to Top

Blog Full Width

Council Members and Officers, Past and Present

Dear Circle Readers,

As we continue to expand our online discourse and the Pacific Circle itself, we would like to recognize the Council members and officers who have helped to ensure the vitality of the organization over the past 30 years and more. Now and for the future, we remain focused on the abiding realization of our purpose — to promote and assist scholarship in the history and social studies of Pacific science.

Members Directory 2022 and Site Renovation

Hello Circle Readers,

We would like to share our Members Directory for 2022 (PDF) even as we make further updates and adjustments to the format. If you wish to add, edit, or remove any part of your member entry, then please email us at thepacificcircle@gmail.com or feel free to contact me directly at mpkline@hawaii.edu.

In the coming weeks, we will also be introducing a number of exciting enhancements to the web site in order to increase the visibility of content, enable better online engagement, and promote collaboration with other organizations.

Pacific Circle Online Lecture, January 20th 2022

Dear Circle Readers,

We are pleased to announce the first of an irregular series of online events of the Pacific Circle. The new council have agreed to introduce this innovation to make best use of new digital means of communication. We will aim to highlight the work of emerging scholars in the fields represented by the Circle.

Please click here to view the announcement (PDF), or see below for details.

Please click here to register in advance (link will open in a new tab). The lecture will be held via Zoom.


Nuclear Weapons and the Unsettling of Sovereignty in the Marshall Islands, 1944-1963

MX Mitchell (University of Toronto)

Abstract: Between 1946 and 1958, the Marshall Islands became a critical center of the United States’ nuclear weapons program. The United States detonated its largest and most powerful nuclear bombs in Indigenous lands and waters, offshoring the mass-scale violence and risk of its signal weapons system. The Marshall Islands, however, were not a part of US territory. Working through the United Nations, US diplomats engineered a sui generis international status—strategic trusteeship—into which it placed Pacific islands seized from Japan during World War II. The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands became a novel, anomalous legal zone of US empire uniquely tied to both nuclear weapons and international law and institutions. This paper explores how this new, yet indeterminate status redefined relationships between sovereignty, territory, and jurisdiction before the worldwide cessation of US atmospheric nuclear blasting in 1963. Drawing on archival research in activists’ records, court files, United Nations records, Trust Territory records, and US government agency collections, the paper traces Islanders’ legal actions across three different forums. It examines how Islanders’ claims over damage to their bodies, ancestral atolls, and ways of life exposed the emerging contours of strategic trusteeship and the boundaries of their belonging in national and international legal and political systems.

Mary X. Mitchell is assistant professor at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies and the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the University of Toronto, Mitchell was a faculty fellow at Princeton University, an assistant professor at Purdue University, and a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University. She practiced law and clerked for Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit before earning her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. Mitchell’s work focuses on the intersections between law, knowledges, and technology.

Greetings from the President

Hello Circle Readers,

Please see the Front Page for an announcement from our current Pacific Circle President, Professor Sujit Sivasundaram. There you may also find an an updated list of Officers and Council Members, including their academic interests and affiliations.

Bulletin No. 47 Now Available

Hello Circle Members,

Pacific Circle Bulletin No. 47 (October 2021) is now available and may be downloaded here (PDF). As with all other past issues, the file may also be downloaded using the permanent link in the ‘Bulletin’ section of this site. A keyword search of all past issues of the Bulletin and Newsletter may be performed using the search bar at the bottom of the page.

Bulletin No. 45 Now Available

Hello Circle Readers,

The October 2020 Bulletin (No. 45) is now available and may be downloaded here (PDF). This and all past issues may be viewed or downloaded by clicking on the ‘Bulletin’ link at the top of this page. One may also perform a keyword search of our site, including all bulletin issues, by using the toolbar at the bottom of the page.

Call for Applications – JPH COVID-19 Grants

Dear Circle Readers,

The Journal of Pacific History Inc. invites qualified persons to apply for either of the two following categories of grants. The grants are offered in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to help support early career, unemployed, or casually employed Pacific historians to prepare articles for submission to the Journal of Pacific History.

See https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cjph for the journal’s Aims and scope, Journal information, and Instructions for authors.

Category One Grant – AU$4,000 x 2

Any unemployed or casually employed scholar who has completed a PhD since 2015 in a field relevant to Pacific history can apply for a grant of AU$4,000 to prepare a journal article on a topic of relevance to the Journal of Pacific History. Successful applicants will receive AU$500 upfront, AU$2,000 on submission of a manuscript through the Journal of Pacific History Taylor & Francis web portal before 31 July 2021, and AU$1,500 on acceptance of the article by the Journal of Pacific History.

Category Two Grant – AU$6,000 x 1

Any unemployed or casually employed scholar of Pacific history with a PhD can apply for a grant of AU$6,000 to prepare a joint article, co-authored with a Pacific Islander, on a topic of relevance to the Journal of Pacific History. For the purposes of this grant, ‘Pacific Islander’ comprises persons from the independent island Pacific, Papua New Guinea, and Papua and West Papua Provinces. The grant is to be shared equally between the successful authors, who will receive AU$2,000 upfront, AU$3,000 on submission of a manuscript through the Journal of Pacific History Taylor & Francis web portal before 31 July 2021, and AU$1,000 on acceptance of the article by the Journal of Pacific History.

It may be possible to republish the article subsequently in translation to a relevant Pacific language.

Application process

Candidates should submit a recent CV, letters of support from two referees, and a proposal of up to 1,000 words by 30 September 2020 to the Secretary of JPH Inc (bronwen.douglas@anu.edu.au). Applications should include the following:

Abstract: 200 words

Outline: rationale of the topic and a brief historiography

Timeline: to submission via the JPH online portal

Applications will be assessed by a sub-committee of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Pacific History. A mentor may be appointed to assist successful applicants in either or both categories.

Helen Gardner

Chair, JPH Inc.

NOTE: If you wish download this notice as a Microsoft Word document (.docx), please click here. Thanks to Dr. Bronwen Douglas for providing this information.

ICHST 2021: Proposed Symposia

Hello Circle Readers,

Please consider participation in one or both of these proposed symposia for the ICHST in Prague, summer 2021.

Session A: Wet ecologies: The media in (under)water worlds

This session investigates the oceans as envirotechnical systems, examining the social, epistemological, and technological dimensions of ocean environments as well as the cultural conditions that produce and exchange them. How have both knowledge and imaginaries of the ocean environment circulated between different actors, national contexts, technologies, disciplines, and domains? Media in classical understanding (newspapers, books, films, pictures) and in broader function (scientific representations, objects, models, and displays) bridge the gap between different approaches to (under)water worlds. What media make that circulation possible and mediate the wide range of interests in the ocean? What is the life-cycle of particular epistemological objects, technologies, social communities, and imaginaries?

Session B: Re-scaling & De-centering the History of Oceanography: the ‘Hidden Figures’ and Hidden Dimensions of Global Ocean Science

Historians of marine science and exploration have traditionally placed western maritime powers at the centers of their accounts. This interpretation is compounded by the longstanding practice of using state-sponsored expeditions as the defining marker of oceanographic progress. Many of these narratives present the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union as having by far the greatest impact on the history of oceanography. However, this framing risks obscuring the role of many other participants. Not only have actors from landlocked nations participated in marine science and exploration, but in some cases small nation states have played an outsized role in ocean science, exploration, and governance (i.e. Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Monaco, Malta). The traditional view also risks obscuring the role of various other participants (indigenous, female, and other underrepresented groups) in the scientific work of marine science whose labor has been ignored or purposely obscured. Similarly, island nations far from the conventional centers of Western science have vital perspectives and knowledge traditions that demand more historical attention, especially in cases when they are most vulnerable to environmental crises. This session invites participants to re-examine our interpretations of the history of marine science using unconventional perspectives, scales, or dimensions. Ocean science takes its stage upon a global ocean. In what diversity of places has marine science been situated? And who are the participants who have often been ignored?

For more information, please contact Dr. Helen Rozwadowski, Professor of History and Maritime Studies at the University of Connecticut (helen.rozwadowski@uconn.edu).

Criteria for Pacific Circle Travel Subsidies for ICHST in Prague, 2021

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The following criteria will be followed for reimbursements of up to US $500 per member for the 2021 ICHST in Prague. [see previous blog post for further details]

  1. Applicant must be presenting a paper and provide evidence that the paper has been accepted.
  2. Preference for graduate students and early-career researchers and profs.
  3. Preference given to applicants based in and around the Pacific, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Oceania.
  4. The subsidy will be in the form of a check drawn as reimbursement from the Pacific Circle’s account with the University of Hawaii Foundation. That means there will be a series of forms to complete and verification of expense is required. For flights, for example, the Foundation requires the invoice and the boarding passes.
  5. Please do not use this as a substitute for other funding which is available to applicants, as our treasure chest is relatively small.

Requests and verifications can be sent to Prof. Peter Hoffenberg (peterh@hawaii.edu) with a copy sent to Prof. Warwick Anderson, Circle President.