Peter Rudiak-Gould
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Ongoing projects

I am currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the School of Anthropology, Oxford University, while residing in Toronto, Canada as an Assistant Professor Status-Only in the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto.


As a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow from 2011-2013 at McGill University I continued my study of Marshallese climate change perceptions and expanded my work to include public understandings of climate change in Western countries, in particular the influence of belief in progress, and the public and academic debate over whether climate change can be 'seen with the naked eye' by non-scientists.

See my academia.edu homepage for more information on my academic work.


As a doctoral student in Anthropology at Oxford University, I studied indigenous reactions to the threat of climate change using ethnographic methods. My doctoral thesis was based on 19 months spent in the Marshall Islands, including 7 months of fieldwork devoted to this topic, and extensive interviews in the Marshallese language. My doctoral work has been featured in a New Internationalist article by Skye Hohmann, a NPR blog post by Barbara J. King, and a Scientific American article by Francie Diep. Here's another summary of my findings.

I have also completed a pilot project on climate change reactions among the Sami, the indigenous people of northernmost Europe, as a visiting researcher at the University of Tromsø, Norway.





Climate Change and Tradition in a Small Island State: The Rising Tide

This is an ethnography of Marshallese perceptions and responses to the threat of sea level rise and climate change, published in Routledge's 'Studies in Anthropology' series in 2013. It is available for order here.

Praise for Climate Change and Tradition in a Small Island State:

“[A]n engaging, important, and highly scholarly contribution to the literature…[T]here is little doubt that we need more books along the lines of Climate change and tradition…The author’s introspection, depth of data, and balanced analysis delve deeply into humanity’s interests in and reactions to human-caused climate change.”
-Dr. Ilan Kelman, Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction, University College London (Review in Island Studies Journal, forthcoming)

“The Marshall Islands have had more than their share of externally induced disasters…Global warming may be the greatest threat of all and this book provides a uniquely sensitive and nuanced account of what is occurring there, but, above all, of the multiple ways in which it is understood—a fascinating account of the complex and changing relationships between society and nature [and]… perceptions of adaptation policies and practices…[A] welcome contribution to thinking about modernity, mobility and climate change, and the reactions and resilience of those most threatened.”
-Dr. John Connell, Professor of Human Geography, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney (Review in Australian Geographer Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 243-4)



Practical Marshallese

This is a freely distributed, full-length textbook for learning Marshallese, the native language of the Marshall Islands. It has been used since 2004 as the official language manual for all volunteers in the WorldTeach Marshall Islands program, and it has formed the basis of language classes for Americans at Kwajalein Atoll. The 102 short lessons describe the grammar of the language in practical and familiar terms, and a glossary presents 1500 useful words.

Download the book here. I also encourage you to download Nik Willson's wonderful Marshallese-English dictionary Naan here.

Praise for Practical Marshallese:

“A lucid course of instruction...The care with which you have transcribed words, phrases, and sentences is remarkable.”
-Dr. Byron Bender, Professor of Linguistics, University of Hawaii-Manoa; Marshallese language scholar

“A heads-up marvel from what we had in 2002-2003...[A] work of monumental worth and information.”
-Bettylene Franzus, WorldTeach Marshall Islands volunteer


All content © Peter Rudiak-Gould 2014 except where otherwise stated