Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
M. Lynn Weiss
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui
This dissertation is an interdisciplinary historical study of American settler-colonial state formation that focuses on the contentious political relationship between the U.S. and Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) after World War II. The central objects of study are three Hawaiʻi-inspired American popular-cultural formations — surfing, tiki culture, and police procedural television — that have very rarely been examined through the analytic lens of indigeneity. In three case studies, I demonstrate how popular-cultural production and consumption has mediated historically specific modes of colonial apprehension. This dissertation develops a methodological approach that merges archival research of undigitized source material with textual and cultural analysis. This dissertation’s central claim is that U.S.-Hawaiian relations, since the end of World War II, have been shaped by a form of knowledge production that I call colonial apprehension: practices for generating and enforcing understandings about Indigenous peoples, places, and epistemologies that ultimately aim (and consistently fail) to neutralize the threat to settler-colonial authority posed by Indigenous sovereignty and knowledge. I draw on the multiple meanings of the word apprehension — comprehension, containment, anxiety — in order to show how settler-colonial knowledge and violence is (re)produced in Americans’ everyday lives and, importantly, how it is made vulnerable by an Indigenous politics of decolonization.
© The Author
Kuragano, Leah, "Colonial Apprehension: Hawaiian Indigeneity In U.S. American Popular Culture, 1945-1980" (2022). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1673281843.