Beyond Ethnicity: New Politics of Race in Hawaii

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Oceania, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-02-13 00:45Z by Steven

Beyond Ethnicity: New Politics of Race in Hawaii

University of Hawai’i Press
March 2018
288 pages
1 b&w illustration
Cloth ISBN: 9780824869885

Edited by:

Camilla Fojas, Associate Professor in the Departments of Media Studies and American Studies
University of Virginia

Rudy P. Guevarra, Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies
Arizona State University

Nitasha Tamar Sharma, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and African American Studies
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Written by scholars of various disciplines, the essays in this volume dig beneath the veneer of Hawai‘i’s myth as a melting pot paradise to uncover historical and complicated cross-racial dynamics. Race is not the primary paradigm through which Hawai‘i is understood. Instead, ethnic difference is celebrated as a sign of multicultural globalism that designates Hawai‘i as the crossroads of the Pacific. Racial inequality is disruptive to the tourist image of the islands. It ruptures the image of tolerance, diversity, and happiness upon which tourism, business, and so many other vested transnational interests in the islands are based. The contributors of this interdisciplinary volume reconsider Hawai‘i as a model of ethnic and multiracial harmony through the lens of race in their analysis of historical events, group relations and individual experiences, and humor, for instance. Beyond Ethnicity examines the dynamics between race, ethnicity, and indigeneity to challenge the primacy of ethnicity and cultural practices for examining difference in the islands while recognizing the significant role of settler colonialism in the islands. This original and thought-provoking volume reveals what a racial analysis illuminates about the current political configuration of the islands and in so doing, challenges how we conceptualize race on the continent.

Recognizing the ways that Native Hawaiians or Kānaka Maoli are impacted by shifting, violent, and hierarchical colonial structures that include racial inequalities, the editors and contributors explore questions of personhood and citizenship through language, land, labor, and embodiment. By admitting to these tensions and ambivalences, the editors set the pace and tempo of powerfully argued essays that engage with the various ways that Kānaka Maoli and the influx of differentially racialized settlers continue to shift the social, political, and cultural terrains of the Hawaiian Islands over time.

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Mothers’ Darlings of the South Pacific: The Children of Indigenous Women and U.S. Servicemen, World War II

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2016-08-17 01:50Z by Steven

Mothers’ Darlings of the South Pacific: The Children of Indigenous Women and U.S. Servicemen, World War II

University Of Hawai’i Press
April 2016
424 pages
95 b&w illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8248-5152-1

Edited by:

Judith A. Bennett, Professor of History
University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Angela Wanhalla, Associate Professor of History
University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Like a human tsunami, World War II brought two million American servicemen to the South Pacific where they left a human legacy of some thousands of children. Mothers’ Darlings of the South Pacific traces the intimate relationships that existed in the wartime South Pacific between U.S. servicemen and Indigenous women, and considers the fate of the resulting children. The American military command carefully managed intimate relationships in the Pacific Theater, applying U.S. immigration law based on race on Pacific peoples of color to prevent marriage “across the color line.” For Indigenous women and their American servicemen sweethearts, legal marriage was impossible, giving rise to a generation of children known as “G.I. Babies.” Among these Pacific war children, one thing common to almost all is the longing to know more about their American father. Mothers’ Darlings of the South Pacific traces these children’s stories of loss, emotion, longing, and identity, and of lives lived in the shadow of global war.

This book considers the way these relationships developed in the major U.S. bases of the South Pacific Command from Bora Bora in the east across to Solomon Islands in the west, and from the Gilbert Islands in the north to New Zealand, in the southernmost region of the Pacific. Some chapters consider in-depth case studies of the life trajectories of one or two people; others are more of a group portrait. Each discusses the context of the particular island societies and how this often determined the way such intimate relationships developed and were accommodated during the war years and beyond.

The writers interviewed many of the children of the Americans and some of the few surviving mothers as well as others who recalled the wartime presence in their islands. Oral histories reveal what the records of colonial governments and the military largely have ignored, providing a perspective on the effects of the U.S. occupation that until now has been disregarded by historians of the Pacific war. The richness of this book should appeal to those interested the Pacific, World War II, as well as intimacy, family, race relations, colonialism, identity, and the legal structures of U.S. immigration.

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Am I Black Enough For You?

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania on 2014-10-06 19:10Z by Steven

Am I Black Enough For You?

Random House Books Australia (Available in the United States via University of Hawai‘i Press)
2012-04-02
352 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781742751924
eBook ISBN: 9781742751931

Anita Heiss

Winner of the Vic Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing.The story of an urban-based high achieving Aboriginal woman working to break down stereotypes and build bridges between black and white Australia.

I’m Aboriginal. I’m just not the Aboriginal person a lot of people want or expect me to be.

What does it mean to be Aboriginal? Why is Australia so obsessed with notions of identity? Anita Heiss, successful author and passionate campaigner for Aboriginal literacy, was born a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, but was raised in the suburbs of Sydney and educated at the local Catholic school. She is Aboriginal – however, this does not mean she likes to go barefoot and, please, don’t ask her to camp in the desert.

After years of stereotyping Aboriginal Australians as either settlement dwellers or rioters in Redfern, the Australian media have discovered a new crime to charge them with: being too ‘fair-skinned’ to be an Australian Aboriginal. Such accusations led to Anita’s involvement in one of the most important and sensational Australian legal decisions of the 21st-century when she joined others in charging a newspaper columnist with breaching the Racial Discrimination Act. He was found guilty, and the repercussions continue.

In this deeply personal memoir, told in her distinctive, wry style, Anita Heiss gives a first-hand account of her experiences as a woman with an Aboriginal mother and Austrian father, and explains the development of her activist consciousness.

Read her story and ask: what does it take for someone to be black enough for you?

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Playing for Malaya: A Eurasian Family and the Pacific War

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2012-09-28 20:06Z by Steven

Playing for Malaya: A Eurasian Family and the Pacific War

University of Hawai‘i Press (Distributed for the National University of Singapore Press)
2011
208 pages
Paper ISBN: 978-9971-69-573-6

Rebecca Kenneison

Reggie, according to his niece Wendy, ‘only told what Reggie wanted you to know.’ Reggie was my father. He had honed the technique of talking with apparent openness and using that talk as a decoy duck: while you were listening to it quack around the pond, you weren’t noticing all the others hiding in the reeds. What follows includes tales that Reggie told repeatedly but, on the whole, it’s about what Reggie didn’t tell me.

So begins a stunning personal account of a Eurasian family living in Malaya. Reggie was the author’s father, and one of the many gaps in his account of his family was that his mother was Eurasian. When Rebecca Kenneison discovered this omission after his death, she set out to learn more about her extended family on the other side of the world.

Set in the 1930s and 1940s, this book recounts the experiences of an extended Eurasian family during the invasion and occupation of Malaya by the Japanese. Colonial society considered Eurasians insufficiently European to be treated as British, but during the Pacific War they seemed all too European to the Japanese, who subjected the Eurasian community to discrimination and worse. Because many Eurasians, including members of the Kenneison family, supported the Allied cause, their wartime experiences are an extraordinary account of tragedy, heroism and endurance, presented here with great eloquence and clarity.

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Glamour in the Pacific: Cultural Internationalism and Race Politics in the Women’s Pan-Pacific

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, Women on 2009-12-29 15:58Z by Steven

Glamour in the Pacific: Cultural Internationalism and Race Politics in the Women’s Pan-Pacific

University of Hawai’i Press
July 2009
304 pages
15 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8248-3342-8

Fiona Paisley, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities
Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia

Perspectives on the Global Past

Since its inception in 1928, the Pan-Pacific Women’s Association (PPWA) has witnessed and contributed to enormous changes in world and Pacific history. Operating out of Honolulu, this women’s network established a series of conferences that promoted social reform and an internationalist outlook through cultural exchange. For the many women attracted to the project—from China, Japan, the Pacific Islands, and the major settler colonies of the region—the association’s vision was enormously attractive, despite the fact that as individuals and national representatives they remained deeply divided by colonial histories.

Glamour in the Pacific tells this multifaceted story by bringing together critical scholarship from across a wide range of fields, including cultural history, international relations and globalization, gender and empire, postcolonial studies, population and world health studies, world history, and transnational history. Early chapters consider the first PPWA conferences and the decolonizing process undergone by the association. Following World War II, a new generation of nonwhite women from decolonized and settler colonial nations began to claim leadership roles in the Association, challenging the often Eurocentric assumptions of women’s internationalism. In 1955 the first African American delegate brought to the fore questions about the relationship of U.S. race relations with the Pan-Pacific cultural internationalist project. The effects of cold war geopolitics on the ideal of international cooperation in the era of decolonization were also considered. The work concludes with a discussion of the revival of “East meets West” as a basis for world cooperation endorsed by the United Nations in 1958 and the overall contributions of the PPWA to world culture politics.

Read the introduction here.

The limits of internationalist interventions into the politics of “race” and the historical legacies of imperialism, nationalism and colonialism familiar to much contemporary world history were fundamental questions preoccupying women at the PPWA also. As I argue in this book, the resilience of race thinking and the limits of the cross-cultural ethos within the PPWA should be read not as constituting the organization’s failure to somehow transcend history, but rather as a reminder of the inherence of racialism to modern feminism and liberal thought more generally. Wishing to be unbounded by territory yet inevitably preoccupied by territorial issues, the Pan-Pacific conferences discussed in the following chapters provide unique insight into the profoundly interconnected histories of race and gender that have shaped feminist internationalism, as well as other progressive politics, and illustrate their on-the-ground, embodied, and passionate contestations.  By viewing the interwar Pacific as a newly conceived territory of modernity in both spatial and temporal terms, this book sees the interwar period as a pivotal moment in the twentieth century, one in which new ways of thinking about the world opened up, however partially, to questions of diversity and difference at the global level that still occupy us today. Not least, these decades saw new accounts of the flow of populations across the Pacific, encouraging a generation of ethnographers, demographers, and anthropometrists to declare the similarities between the races and cultures and in the Pacific in particular, to announce the future intermixing of peoples and cultures as the Pacific solution to world affairs, and to predict the future advancement of world civilization. Warwick Anderson points out that racial intermixture was claimed by many of those undertaking studies in the Pacific such as Felix and Marie Keesing, who feature in this study, to announce the way forward for humankind, thus envisaging interracial relations in stark contrast to the disavowal of racial mixing in the United States and its anxious management in Australia and elsewhere. The Keesings were also critical of the mandate of their own country, New Zealand, in Samoa (alongside the United States), contrasting that regime with their ideal of advancement through dynamic racial and cultural flows.  As Tony Ballantyne explains, the region was conceptualized spatially and temporally as the product of waves of population linking more recent colonization to deep time.

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The Dance of Identities: Korean Adoptees and Their Racial Identity Journeys

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2009-11-20 22:30Z by Steven

The Dance of Identities: Korean Adoptees and Their Racial Identity Journeys

University of Hawai’i Press
October 2010
224 pages
3 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8248-3371-8

John D. Palmer, Associate Professor of Educational Studies
Colgate University

Korean adoptees have a difficult time relating to any of the racial identity models because they are people of color who often grew up in white homes and communities. Biracial and nonadopted people of color typically have at least one parent whom they can racially identify with, which may also allow them access to certain racialized groups. When Korean adoptees attempt to immerse into the Korean community, they feel uncomfortable and unwelcome because they are unfamiliar with Korean customs and language. The Dance of Identities looks at how Korean adoptees “dance,” or engage, with their various identities (white, Korean, Korean adoptee, and those in between and beyond) and begin the journey toward self-discovery and empowerment.

Throughout the author draws closely on his own experiences and those of thirty-eight other Korean adoptees, mainly from the U.S. Chapters are organized according to major themes that emerged from interviews with adoptees. “Wanting to be like White” examines assimilation into a White middle-class identity during childhood. Although their White identity may be challenged at times, for the most part adoptees feel accepted as “honorary” Whites among their families and friends. “Opening Pandora’s Box” discusses the shattering of adoptees’ early views on race and racism and the problems of being raised colorblind in a race-conscious society. “Engaging and Reflecting” is filled with adoptee voices as they discover their racial and transracial identities as young adults. During this stage many engage in activities that they believe make more culturally Korean, such as joining Korean churches and Korean student associations in college. “Questioning What I Have Done” delves into the issues that arise when Korean adoptees explore their multiple identities and the possible effects on relationships with parents and spouses. In “Empowering Identities” the author explores how adoptees are able to take control of their racial and transracial identities by reaching out to parents, prospective parents, and adoption agencies and by educating Korean and Korean Americans about their lives. The final chapter, “Linking the Dance of Identities Theory to Life Experiences,” reiterates for adoptees, parents, adoption agencies, and social justice activists and educators the need for identity journeys and the empowered identities that can result.

The Dance of Identities is an honest look at the complex nature of race and how we can begin to address race and racism from a fresh perspective. It will be well received by not only members of the Korean adoption community and transracial parents, but also Asian American scholars, educators, and social workers.

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