Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Politics of Paradise: Tourism, Image and Cultural Production in Hawai`i
by Williams, Liza Keanuenueokalani, Ph.D., New York University, 2015, 251; 3716628
Abstract (Summary)

Hawai'i has become idealized as one of the most beautiful beach vacation destinations in the world. Remaining in the American cultural imaginary as its very "own" respite, tourist images promote Hawai'i as desirable masking colonial histories and current realities for Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians). This dissertation traces the cultural politics that tourism evokes and how its logics intersect with the development of two other industries: the military and the prison industrial complex. I position Statehood in 1959 as a historical juncture through which contemporary Maoli cultural politics and debates emerged. Using historical research, interviews and analytical readings of tourist sites, military occupied locations, and prison landscapes, this dissertation traces ways tourist logics shape socio-political debates. Drawing from interviews with Kānaka Maoli artists who produce and debate cultural representation and commodification, I also trace various responses to the ways that tourist logics represent Native Hawaiian culture. I draw connections between tourism, the military, and the prison industrial complex to show how different capitalist interests continue histories of colonialism in the islands. In turn, these capitalist constructs elicit various responses by Kānaka Maoli, shaping debates of cultural representation and political futures. These responses, as represented by Maoli artists and the images they produce, articulate a cultural politic that positions the present moment as a critical juncture where both tourist industry marketing and Maoli articulations of culture are increasingly relational, blurring the lines between colonized and colonizer. Tracing cultural negotiations, debated representations, and changes in cultural commodity production are the core of this dissertation project - highlighting ways Hawai'i remains a colonial outpost despite its status as a State of the Union.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Davila, Arlene
Commitee: Morgan, Jennifer, Saranillio, Dean Itsuji, Tengan, Ty P. Kawika, Tu, Thuy Linh
School: New York University
Department: Social and Cultural Analysis
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, Native American studies, Recreation
Keywords: Colonialism, Cultural commodity, Cultural production, Hawai'i, Hawaii, Tourism
Publication Number: 3716628
ISBN: 978-1-321-95526-2
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