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The first chapter explores “Isletism,” the ideology that underpins the ongoing assault on Pacific peoples. For centuries, Westerners have seen the Pacific Islands as isolated islets outside modern history. Imagining the tropical Island as marooned at the earliest stage of a supposedly unilinear path to “progress,” Western narratives have denied Oceanians both the right to history and the right to a future. Indigenous people were contaminated with viruses and irradiated by nuclear bombs because they were considered outside the realm of humanity and doomed to disappear. Today, the very same imperial obliviousness structures Western nations' responses to the climate crisis, which ranges from compassionate apathy to downright indifference. While such ideological representations are pervasive among foreign writers, I highlight that they occur even in the works of progressive intellectuals such as Pablo Neruda, who perpetuates Isletist tropes about Oceanians' ahistoricity even in the age of the atom.

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