Date

2013

Department or Program

Anthropology

Additional Department or Program (if any)

Environmental Studies/Science

Title of Approved Individual Major

Anthropology

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Deborah Matzner

Additional Advisor(s)

James Turner

Abstract

I hope to tell the story of the contested landscape of a former military training base in Vieques, a small island municipality of Puerto Rico. Military occupation on the island from 1940 until 2003 led to serious environmental and economic devastation. In 2003, the Navy gave two-thirds of the island to U.S. Fish and Wildlife. In effect, toxic wasteland is now under “conservation” where clean-up is impossible given its status as a wildlife sanctuary. This paradox has been kept out of local dialogue and has provided popular media with a platform to dub Vieques as an untouched gem of the Caribbean.

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