Aloha America

Aloha America

Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire

  • Author: Imada, Adria L.
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • ISBN: 9780822351962
  • eISBN Pdf: 9780822395164
  • Place of publication:  Durham , United States
  • Year of digital publication: 2012
  • Month: July
  • Pages: 392
  • DDC: 784.18/87
  • Language: English
Aloha America reveals the role of hula in legitimating U.S. imperial ambitions in Hawai'i. Hula performers began touring throughout the continental United States and Europe in the late nineteenth century. These "hula circuits" introduced hula, and Hawaiians, to U.S. audiences, establishing an "imagined intimacy," a powerful fantasy that enabled Americans to possess their colony physically and symbolically. Meanwhile, in the early years of American imperialism in the Pacific, touring hula performers incorporated veiled critiques of U.S. expansionism into their productions.

At vaudeville theaters, international expositions, commercial nightclubs, and military bases, Hawaiian women acted as ambassadors of aloha, enabling Americans to imagine Hawai'i as feminine and benign, and the relation between colonizer and colonized as mutually desired. By the 1930s, Hawaiian culture, particularly its music and hula, had enormous promotional value. In the 1940s, thousands of U.S. soldiers and military personnel in Hawai'i were entertained by hula performances, many of which were filmed by military photographers. Yet, as Adria L. Imada shows, Hawaiians also used hula as a means of cultural survival and countercolonial political praxis. In Aloha America, Imada focuses on the years between the 1890s and the 1960s, examining little-known performances and films before turning to the present-day reappropriation of hula by the Hawaiian self-determination movement.

  • Contents
  • Note On Language
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction. Aloha America
  • Chapter 1. Lady Jane at the Boathouse: The Intercultural World of Hula
  • Chapter 2. Modern Desires and Counter-Colonial Tactics: Gender, Performance, and the Erotics of Empire
  • Chapter 3. Impresarios on the Midway: World’s Fairs and Colonial Politics
  • Chapter 4. “Hula Queens” and “Cinderellas”: Imagined Intimacy in the Empire
  • Chapter 5. The Troupes Meet the Troops: Imperial Hospitality and Military Photography in the Pacific Theater
  • Epilogue. New Hula Movements
  • Chronology. Hawai‘i Exhibits at International Expositions, 1894–1915
  • Abbreviations of Collections, Libraries, and Archives
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index


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