The History of Settler Colonialism in Hawaiʻi
NOENOE K. SILVA. Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004. Pp. x, 260. Paperback. $21.95. ISBN:0-8223-3349-X.
JOHN WHITEHEAD, “Hawai’i: The First and Last Far West?” Western Historical Quarterly 23, 2 (May 1992): 153-177.
RUTH OLDENZIEL, “Islands: The United States as a Networked Empire,” 13-42, in Gabrielle Hecht, ed., Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003. $32.00. Paperback. ISBN: 9780262515788.
The readings for this week discuss the contested history of American settler colonialism in the Pacific islands of Hawai’i. Historian Ruth Oldenziel, in her chapter contribution to the edited volume Entangled Geographies, sets the stage for this discussion by analyzing the generally overlooked, historical role of overseas island possessions in the formation of American empire. Oldenziel argues that far-flung, peripheral islands like Hawai’i became “nodes in exclusionary, global-spanning technical systems closely connected to the military hardware of a networked empire.” To put it more simply, islands played “a central role” in the history of US imperial expansion. Yet island possessions are unique territories because “they render US power invisible to the world.” Indeed, most Americans are completely unaware of the extent to which the United States controls overseas island possessions. Despite their minuscule size in terms of acreage, these “US [overseas] territories are the largest of the post-colonial era” in terms of population.