September 2016 Issue

This special issue presents a rich array of scholarship that covers a wide spectrum of historical, geographical, and cultural contexts, ranging from World War II Italy and postwar Hiroshima to contemporary Hawai‘i, the Caribbean, and occupied Palestine. The works are also wonderfully diverse in their sources and methodologies, including historical archives, ethnography, and media studies. The forum traces the formations and developments of critical scholarship on tourism and militarism by putting together the essays by pioneers in the field with those by emerging scholars carrying their torches in new directions. The review essays discuss recent books that address some of the key questions of the special issue in different historical and political contexts. 

 Tours of Duty and Tours of Leisure

This special issue of American Quarterly draws its inspiration from a genealogy of critical work generated by postcolonial and transnational feminist studies. From Cynthia Enloe's questions about where the women are in international studies—to Caren Kaplan's insights into how the ways of seeing have been weaponized, feminist inquiries have paved the way for our own attempts to curate an issue that speaks to the intersections of tourism and militarism.

Alongside gender, questions about race and colonialism also underpin the contributions to this special issue. Which bodies are surveilled, policed and targeted has become an increasingly urgent issue, one taken up by advocates for Palestine, indigenous activists the world over, and the Black Lives Matter Movement, for example, in increasingly linked ways. Intertwined with this reality of expendable, precarious life is the notion of mobility and access. These practices of freedom represent the very opposite of the terrain produced by an ideology and economy of an increasingly militarized world. That is, what is the price of “freedom” (to travel, to cross borders, to explore), and who pays it? How is it secured, and for whom? These questions cannot be truly considered without attention to how gender and race operate as modalities of power in our “post”-colonial world.

What follows is a list of books, articles, websites, art projects, interdisciplinary collaborations, blogs, and other online resources that addresses these intersections and which have informed and inspired aspects of our thinking about tours of duty and tours of leisure in some way. Although this compilation is not exhaustive, we hope that you will find it useful for your own research and teaching on topics related to both historical and contemporary convergences of militarization and tourism.

Can Başkent, Militourism In Turkey: Politics Of Irony, Fun, Rebellion (blog)

Keith L. Camacho, Enframing I Taotao Tano’: Colonialism, Militarism, and Tourism in Twentieth Century Guam (MA thesis)

Lisa Pinley Covert, "The GI Bill Abroad: A Postwar Experiment in International Relations," Diplomatic History (journal article)

Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George B. Handley, eds., Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment

Part IV Militourism:

  •  Elizabeth DeLoughrey, “Heliotropes: Solar Ecologies and Pacific Radiation,” 235-253
  • Dina El Dessouky, “Active Voice, Body, and Place: Kanaka Maoli and Ma‘ohi Writings for Kaho‘olawe and Moruroa,” 254-272
  • Anthony Carrigan, “‘Out of this Great Tragedy Will Come a World Class Tourism Destination’: Disaster, Ecology, and Post-Tsunami,” 273-290
  • Byron Caminelo-Santangelo, “In Place: Tourism, Cosmopolitan Bioregionalism, and Zakes Mda’s The Heart of Redness,” 291-308.

 DMZ: Demilitarize Hawai‘i (organization and website)

“DMZ HAWAI‘I, ALOHA ‘ĀINA: BUILDING A DEMILITARIZATION MOVEMENT THROUGH RESEARCH, ACTION, AND SOLIDARITY”"Prostitution debate should also look at prostitution of Hawai‘i to military and tourist interests""Military travelers increase despite tourism downturn"

 Vicente M. Diaz, "Deliberating 'Liberation Day': Identity, History, Memory and War in Guam." Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s), eds. T. Fujitani, Geoffrey M. White, Lisa Yoneyama (book chapter)

 Dread Ashanti, “Militourism”: (song and live performance footage)

Michael Donoghue, Borderland on the Isthmus: Race, Culture and the Struggle for the Canal Zone (book)

Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches, and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (book)

Cynthia Enloe, The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire (book)

Cynthia Enloe, Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link (book)

Ayano Ginoza, "The American Village in Okinawa—Redefining Security in a 'Militourist' Landscape." The Journal of Social Science, 2007 (journal article)

Ayano Ginoza,"Space of 'militourism': Intimacies of U.S. and Japanese empires and indigenous sovereignty in Okinawa," International Journal of Okinawan Studies, 3:1 (journal article)

Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, Securing Paradise: Tourism and Militarism in Hawai‘i and the Philippines (book)

Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, “Tourism Mobilities, Indigenous Claims, and the Securitization of the Beach.” In Mobile Desires: The Erotics and Politics of Mobility Justice, Liz Montegary and Melissa Autumn White, eds. (book chapter)

Tina Grandinetti, "'In the Shadow of the Beast' on Demilitarization tours in Hawai‘i", FLUX Hawaii (magazine article)

The Guantánamo Public Memory Project(website and art installation)

Hinemoana of Turtle Island (Pacific women activist and artists collective), "On Cameron Crowe's 'Aloha' and Indigenous Pacific Films We Actually Recommend" (blog)

Christine Hong, “Unreliable Narration in Colonial and Postcolonial Literature” (course at UC Santa Cruz/blog)

Marcus Dovigi: militourism in the Ukraine

Joanna Matys: militourism in Godzilla

Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Causasus, January 9-March 23, 2014 (documentary website)

Peter Hulme, Cuba's Wild East: A Literary Geography of Oriente. American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography (book)

Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw), "The Indian and the Tourist" (short film)

Karim Ben Khalifa, "The Enemy" (website)

Caren Kaplan, "Before the Drone: Genealogy of Aerial Imagery and its Militarization" (podcast)

Caren Kaplan, "Dead Reckoning: Aerial Perception and the Social Construction of Targets"

Erkinalp Kesikili, Conscientious Objection 1 - Militourism: A New Expression of Anti-Militarism (blog entry)

Scott Laderman, Tours of Vietnam: War, Travel Guides and Memory (book)

Jana K. Lipman, Guantánamo: A Working Class History between Empire and Revolution (book)

Debbie Lisle, Holidays in the Danger Zone: Entanglements of War and Tourism (book)

Katherine McCaffrey, Military Power and Popular Protest: The U.S. Navy in Vieques, Puerto Rico (book)

Katherine McCaffrey, “Environmental Struggle After the Cold War: New Forms of Resistance to the U.S. Military in Vieques, Puerto Rico.” In Catherine Lutz, editor. The Bases of Empire: The Struggle against US Military Posts (book chapter)

Harvey Neptune, Caliban and the Yankees: Trinidad and the U.S. Occupation

Lisa Parks, "Zeroing In: Overhead Imagery, Infrastructure Ruins, and Datalands in Afghanistam and Iraq." The Visual Culture Reader 3.0, Nicholas Mirzoeff, ed. (book chapter)

Chris Ryan, ed., Battlefield Tourism: History, Place, and Interpretation(edited collection)

Ricardo Scofidio, Elizabeth Diller, eds., Back to The Front: Tourisms of War (edited collection)

Setsu Shigematsu and Keith L. Camacho, Militarized Currents: Toward a Decolonized Future in Asia and the Pacific (edited collection)

Christine Skwiot, The Purpose of Paradise: U.S. Tourism and Empire in Cuba and Hawai‘i (book)

Valene Smith, "War and Tourism: An American Ethnography." Annals of Tourism Research (journal article)

Rebecca Stein, Itineraries in Conflict: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Political Lives of Tourism (book)

Teresia Teaiwa, "bikinis and other s/pacific n/oceans." The Contemporary Pacific 6:1 (journal article)

Teresia K. Teaiwa, Militarism, Tourism and the Native: Articulations in Oceania (dissertation)

Teresia Teaiwa, “Reading Gauguin’s Noa Noa with Hau‘ofa’s Kisses in the Nederends: Militourism, Feminism and the ‘Polynesian’ Body”  (book chapter)

Jeffrey Tripp, Contentious divide: The cultural politics of the Korean demilitarized zone, 1953-2008 (dissertation)

Don Unrau, The Art of (War) Tourism (website/art)

Gan K. Uyeda, The Militourist Image of Diamond Head (book)

Liza Keānuenuekalani Williams, The Politics of Paradise: Tourism, Image, and Cultural Production in Hawaiʻi (dissertation)

Additional Examples:

Israel juxtaposes militarized imagery with a tourism promotion message

Battlefield 3: A Guide to Military Tourism

Guam Tourism and the Military Buildup Part 1

Guam Tourism and the Military Buildup Part 2

Below, some of our authors have extended their contributions, added provocative tangents and assembled other useful sources that inspire their own work. 

Supplemental Content for Artist Statement
Jewel Castro

Besides my own family's siapo, tatau, fine mats, and lives, in my process I refer to these sources and others for inspiration:

Samoan and other Pacific Islander dance, music and the sound of certain instruments particularly these:
Don Bosco Alafua, Samoa
Samoan slap dance-Fa'ataupati
E Lo'u Tama E Ua Fa'afetai
He U'i - Akoni
Samoan Teachers Training College - E Lelei O Mea Uma.
Rob Thorne WHAIA TE MARAMATANGA full length video
Slit Drum or Slit Gong (paté)
Samoan tatau (part 1)
Samoan tatau (part 2)
Siapo made by Mary Prichard and Tupito Gadalla
The art of Samoan Siapo
Historic and contemporary Pacific voyaging, vessels, sails...
Pacific Northwest First Nations art and PNG carving, some that are seen at the Alcheringa Gallery in Victoria B.C.

The books:
The Samoa Islands by Dr. Augustin Kramer volumes I and II
Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America by Lucy Lippard

The art and process of:
Faith Ringgold
Romare Bearden
Fourteenth century iconographic paintings
Greek mosaics
Byzantine mosaics
Pablo Picasso
Henri Matisse
David Hockney
Annie Leibovitz
Judy Baca
Richard Lou
Rosanna Raymond
Diego Rivera
Filipe Tohi
The De La Torre brothers
Robert Irwin

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

I referred to the photo of my Uncle Kenneti for the first painting, Tales of a Fisherman.  He is flanked on both sides by his parents, the late Rev. Suitonu Galea'i and Mrs. Tinei Suitonu Galea'i, and one of my aunts and her husband. The photo was taken circa 1964.


Central American Child Migration: Militarization and Tourism
Laura Briggs

The Politics of the Summer of 2014
My article tracked the estimated 68,000 Central American children who crossed the border as refugees, alone or with their mothers, that summer. It argued that while Republicans blamed Obama for the “surge” of minors and Democrats blamed a local “culture of violence”—domestic violence at home and youth-on-youth violence of gangs—the deeper roots lay in what Dawn Paley has called the paramilitarization of the drug war in Northern Triangle countries (Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), the 2009 US-supported coup in Honduras, the complicity of the police and these states in criminal activity (see here and here and here), and the Cold War civil wars there. The piece also looked at the “roots” tourism of children who had been adopted from Central America, their struggle to understand who they would have been if they had stayed, and the strategic silences in those tours over questions of kidnapping in making children available for adoption by small- and big-time criminals, as well as, especially in earlier years, military and paramilitary groups.

I’ve been thinking about Summer 2014 and how it became the season of lost and disappeared children, paramilitaries, and transformational activism in the Americas. Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014. The next day, when local activists took to the streets demanding to know why an unarmed 18-year old was shot and his body left to lie in the sun all day, the police responded with tanks and tear gas. Images and reports from the August 10 demonstrations went viral, and activists from Oakland, California to Europe to the Palestinian territories responded. Large numbers of people began tweeting under the hashtags #Ferguson and then #BlackLivesMatter, taking up the slogan from the earlier response to the killing of Trayvon Martin, another unarmed Black teen killed by “security” forces, that time a neighborhood watch vigilante, George Zimmerman. Images of grieving parents, in both instances, provided moral weight in opposition to those who tried to portray the boys as criminals, and tracked the political responses to it. Barack Obama tried to play the role of parent-in-chief, saying “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

For two years, Black Lives Matters has kept the question of the state-sanctioned killing of mostly young women and men front and center in U.S. national politics through Twitter, other digital media, and street activism, including by raising questions about police violence in the context of the US presidential campaign. They have demanded a future for children by pointing out that they have been rendered disposable—even dead—by virtue of a reprehensible racial politics. They have also made links to movements against the “school to prison pipeline,” and for prison abolition. In the face of what may or may not be the emergence of a new fascist class fragment in the police forces that has declared war on Black citizens (and briefly, against New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio, who dared criticize the police for the killing of an unarmed man, Eric Garner, whose only crime was selling single cigarettes without a permit)—or might just be local, violent business as usual—they have demanded accountability. The movement has also produced a vision of a white supremacy that has secured its power and wealth above all through a violence that began during slavery and continued to the present.

In September 2014, 43 teacher-training students from the normal school of Ayotzinapa were disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero on their way, ironically, to a Mexico City memorial for the 1968 shooting of students that came to be called the Tlateloco massacre. The disappearances were initially blamed on organized crime—specifically Guerreros Unidos—then the governor of Guerrero. Yet many activists and even government supporters have concluded that culpability extends all the way to the national state, police, and military.  The failure of many branches of the police and armed forces to help the students has certainly provided evidence for this case. But perhaps the worst blow to the credibility of the federal government has been its pronouncements that first one mass grave, then another was the final resting site for the remains of the missing students. External efforts to confirm that these sites contain the DNA of the missing students have failed, leading to the horrifying spectacle of multiple mass graves across Guerrero, and, many presume, Mexico.

Yet activists have made of #Ayotzinapa more than just another mass disappearance—estimated at anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 people in the past ten years. They have also made public and mainstream a conversation about the alliance between the state and the narcos, speaking of a narco-state and an economy founded in “drug war capitalism” that advances neoliberal goals while displacing people and destroying ways of life. The parents of the disappeared students became a key organizing force, taking up as a slogan the words of the parents of disappeared children and youth from the Mexican sixties, “Vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos!”  (They were taken alive, we want them back alive!) This demand for the returned of the disappeared, living, is quixotic two years on, but it is the most extreme and poignant refusal of the necropolitics of the narco-state, the state of disappearance. It demands accountability and justice from the Mexican state, a justice it cannot deliver as it shelters the police, military, and politicians who have profited from mass disappearances.

In short, beginning from disparate roots in the summer of 2014, three powerful, unsettling movements across the Americas began demanding kinds of change that imagine the fundamental disruption of the state in the name of “the children”—precisely because children’s lives are being rendered precarious and their deaths ungrievable because of racism and nationalism. Two things strike me now. One, it would deepen all of these movements to put them in conversation with each other—surely the War on Drugs is a common root of the paramilitarization and occupation of U.S. Black and immigrant communities, Mexico, and the Northern Triangle countries, for example. And second, as the Obama administration continues to target Central American children disproportionately and arguably illegally for deportation (his support for young people who came to the United States as small children extends only to Mexicans, apparently), immigrant justice activists have been the least successful of all these actors in making the case not only that Central American children should be defended, but also that their displacement itself constitutes a brief against state actors.

As a result, we now have two presidential candidates whose respective bids for the U.S. presidency are fundamentally shaped by their complicity with Central America’s drug wars. Donald Trump’s racist immigrant exclusion position insists that the consequences of drug war violence in displacement and murder must remain outside the United States (even as he participates in the erasure—disappearance—of Central American child refugees by insisting that immigrants are adult Mexican men, “rapists.”) And despite the efforts of countless journalists and scholar activists, there is no mainstream counter-narrative about the role of Hillary Clinton in launching two major refugee crises—one following on the US-supported coup in Libya, which resulted in the sacking of Muammar el-Qaddafi’s armory, the hyper-militarization of the conflict in Syria, and a subsequent refugee crisis in 2011, and the U.S.-backed coup in Honduras, which started what became the second mass wave of refugees of the decade, children from Central America.

While the evidence linking the U.S. and Secretary Clinton to the coup itself is circumstantial—having to do with the speed at which the administration ratified its outcome—Clinton did admit in her autobiography, Hard Choices, that it was she as Secretary of State who moved to produce an apparent consensus in the Americas to ensure that former Honduran President Manuel Zalaya would not be restored to power (even as other governments and human rights actors throughout the hemisphere were trying to accomplish just that): “In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico,” Clinton writes. “We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.” These damning two sentences, however, can only be found in the hard cover version of the book, published in 2014. It was scrubbed from the 2015 paperback after critics of Clinton’s role in the coup—including indigenous environmentalist Berta Cacéres before her assassination at the hands of Honduran security forces—began quoting this passage widely as evidence of Secretary Clinton’s undemocratic and illegal participation in “rendering the question of Zelaya moot”—a man who had been put on a plane in his pajamas by members of the military coup who feared the consequences of killing him.

For better or worse, though, the window has not closed for activists to make this case. All of these questions and actors—Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, racism, nationalism, and drug war violence—are likely to be with us for a long time to come.

R&R at the Intersection of US and Japanese Dual Empire: Okinawan Women and Decolonizing Militarized Heterosexuality
Ayano Ginoza

 My essay unpacks militarized heterosexual politics articulated in Okinawa where the U.S. and Japanese empires operate together ostensibly under the name of peace and security. This essay interweaves personal and cultural entanglements of militarization experienced by and through women’s hypersexualized existence in Okinawa as a U.S. military rest and recreation site. Unpacking the relationship of the operation of both empires through personal stories reveals contradictions and difficulties of gendered national relations and formations of militarized subjectivities.

This essay further illuminates ways in which an academic voice intersects with the community based feminist demilitarization movements in the Asia-Pacific region. Those interested in learning more about inter-/trans-national feminist demilitarization movements in the Asia-Pacific region, please visit the following websites:

International Women's Network Against Militarism
Women for Genuine Security
Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence (in Japanese only)
Living along the Fenceline and institutional copies available


“I Felt Like a Tourist Instead of a Soldier”: The Occupying Gaze: War and Tourism in Italy, 1943–1945
Andrew Buchanan

During World War II, the great majority of American military personnel who served in Italy—as in other overseas postings—had some opportunity to be tourists.  If the nearly 750,000 Americans assigned to the Mediterranean during the war are viewed as part-time tourists, then it becomes clear that the great expansion of American tourism in Europe occurred not after the war, as is customarily thought, but during it.  Soldier-tourism was both broad and complex, incorporating aspects of sex tourism, mass tourism, and cultural tourism.  GI tourism was actively promoted by military authorities through official handbooks, organized tours, and articles in Stars and Stripes. The performance of tourism promoted by these efforts was not a neutral exercise, but was deeply intertwined with the normalization and legitimization of military conquest and occupation, and it helped to pave the way for Italy’s incorporation into a postwar order headed by the United States.  Soldier tourism was a semi-official part of Allied military governance in Italy, serving to reinforce perceptions of American superiority, to appropriate key elements of Italian history and culture, and to render the occupation legible for domestic opinion within the United States.  Like much overseas tourism, it was an encounter with an exoticized other; in this case, however, the tourists were members of a victorious and occupying army, adding a powerful new dimension to the complex disparities implicit in most overseas tourism.

 This study began with a remarkable series of over three hundred high-quality color photographs taken by American fighter pilot Captain James “Rabbit” Hare.  Many of these images document the experiences of Hare and his fellow pilots of the 57th Fighter Group as they took time out to visit tourist spots in Cannes, Venice, Rome, Pisa, and Athens.  These young pilots had access to aircraft and aviation fuel, making them particularly well placed to enjoy tourism.  But even combat infantrymen were often able to take short breaks in Rome and other major cities, and their tourist experiences featured in letters home, some of which were passed on to local newspapers for publication.  Moreover, the great majority of American military personnel were not in combat units, and their postings to logistical and communications bases and to administrative jobs in the Allied military government often allowed time for concentrated tourism and souvenir-hunting. 

 The Atomic City: Military Tourism and Urban Identity in Postwar Hiroshima
Ran Zwigenberg

My article is about the links between postwar military tourism to Hiroshima, the commemoration of the bomb, and US-Japanese relationships. The emphasis on reconciliation and a particular memory of the bomb in such narratives, I argue, sought to erase US responsibility and agency in the destruction of the city. Such messages have had implications for both Americans and Japanese, as the changing geo-political situation in East Asia and the rise in Cold War tensions significantly elevated the importance of Hiroshima and US-Japan relations. As this article was getting into its advanced editing such concerns were suddenly brought again into the limelight by the first ever visit of a sitting US president in Hiroshima on May 27 2016. Barack Obama’s speech and the debates that surrounded the visit were surprisingly familiar to a student of Hiroshima’s history. Themes such as US responsibility (or lack thereof), the decision to drop the bomb, the power and perils of science and Hiroshima’s role as a symbol of reconciliation and a very peculiar one as such (compare Hiroshima’s status with Auschwitz for instance), all were brought again into the limelight. Yet again historians argued about the bomb and whether it was necessary to drop it.  President Obama spoke, in very similar terms to past commentators on the need for “moral revolution.”

 Such messages of hope and reconciliation were, again, put into stark contrast with the awful reality of Hiroshima in 1945. What visitors saw was utter destruction as evidenced by this particular panorama of Hiroshima and survivor stories. Such a hopeful message was also in contrast with the newspapers' reports of the day.  Consider Obama’s call for reconciliation with Truman’s message.  Indeed, Hiroshima’s postwar history, as this article demonstrates, is a study in contradictions and ambiguities. Such divergence between words of hope and the reality of destruction were further contrasted by the peculiar experience of soldiers on the ground. One can see a contrast between soldiers’ mostly positive encounter with Japan and what they were told by the army’s pocket guide on what they would find once there. Even though pre-Hiroshima guides to Japan were preparing GIs for counterinsurgency and racial hatred, Hiroshima, the Peace City – as this Time article calls it – was presenting itself as the new “mecca of world peace,” and was, officially, receiving Americans with open arms. Some, especially African Americans, like E.H. Davidson, were ambivalent but mostly positive about the experience. Not all Americans, however, reacted positively. Some were shocked, while others were still feeling vengeful. Japanese-Americans in particular were affected in many contradictory and profound ways, facing hostility, at times, from both other Americans and their Japanese relatives. 

Such issues were not unique to Hiroshima. Similar dilemmas were faced in other places that suffered from American and others’ indiscriminate use of air power, as well as in the aftermath of terrorism and other mass casualties and death. The lessons and context are different (again, think of the Holocaust and our very different relationship to its sites of past horrors), but they were amplified in Hiroshima, at least during the cold war, by the imminence of the nuclear threat.  The history and legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki touched all of these themes and more and it is still unresolved.  As Obama’s visit and the debates that surrounded it showed, they are also, unfortunately, as relevant as ever. 

Threads of Empire: Militourism and the Aloha Wear Industry in Hawai‘i
Christen Tsuyuko Sasaki

In “Threads of Empire,” I use the business history of Malihini Sportswear, a garment manufacturing firm that owes its economic success to the commercial arm of the US military, to illuminate the links between the mid-twentieth century expansion of the aloha wear industry and the US Armed Forces in creating and disseminating a multiracial paradisal facade of Hawai‘i. Outside of the Hawaiian Islands, the aloha shirt’s popularity did not peak until the 1950s and 1960s. Several factors contributed to this rise, including the return of former military service personnel who had spent time in the islands during World War II.  By this time, their frustration at wartime life on “the rock” had mellowed, and was replaced by a nostalgia fueled in part by postwar depictions of Hawai‘i. Civilian tourism also returned to the islands in full force. Manufacturers on the North American continent began producing aloha shirts and major department stores such as Sears started selling them to the American public during the postwar years.

Perhaps one of the most important factors that contributed to the rise in popularity of aloha wear, was the decade-long push to gain Hawaiian Statehood. By the time the island territory was admitted as the 50th state in 1959, Americans were captivated by the ideal of Hawai‘i as a “safely exotic” place. In other words, Hawai‘i represented a piece of the US where Americans could readily access the authentic primitive within the safety “western civilization.” Leisure merchants tapped into this desire to experience life outside of the growing post-war American suburb and actively promoted “Tiki culture.”   Between 1950-1960, Tiki culture flourished and as faux Polynesian-themed motels, bars, and restaurants like Trader Vic's appeared across the nation, aloha wear sales almost tripled.

Tapa aloha shirt patterns, which were one of the designs popular during this decade-long tiki culture craze and assumed by the average American consumer to be the epitome of Hawaiian tradition, were actually copies of Samoan material and design.  While the labor intensive kapa had been out of active production for decades, Samoan tapa was exported to Hawai‘i to be sold as souvenirs.  By the 1950s, Hawaiian kapa was so rare that most fabric designers and garment manufacturers did not have knowledge of the original Hawaiian patterns. 

There are many resources that detail the history and art of the aloha shirt. In 2009, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Apparel Product Design and Merchandising Program’s Historic Costume Collection initiated a project to digitize its aloha shirt collection. You can access it here through the UH Virtual Museum. Here are a few of the many books on the topic:

 Brown, DeSoto and Linda B. Arthur. The Art of the Aloha Shirt. Waipahu: Island Heritage, 2002.

 Hope, Dale. The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands. Hillsboro: Beyond Words, 2000.

Berthing Violent Nostalgia: Restored Slave Ports and the Royal Caribbean Historic Falmouth Cruise Terminal
Julia Michiko Hori

My essay explores the haunted relation between generations of ships arriving at the port of Falmouth, Jamaica. Pressing on the manifold ways in which the port’s violent history accumulates, is strategically erased, and/or made profitable for a growing cruise industry, I question the logic and practices of “cultural heritage tourism” and “restoration” as they rest precariously between private and public institutions and values. Moored to a legacy of slave ships and warships, I read the cruise ship as an increasingly militarized technology that mobilizes the residues and specters of the colonial gaze to forward the present-day occupation and surveillance of Jamaica.

The following links/resources are intended to accompany my essay to further illustrate the scope and claims of my project.

      I.         Leading Actors in Falmouth’s Restoration

These links allow readers to compare more closely the objectives of three primary groups involved in the funding, design, and sourcing of labor and materials for the restoration of Falmouth as adjacent (and sometimes parallel) to those of Royal Caribbean’s “Historic Falmouth” model.

A non-profit public charity “entering its second decade of historic preservation, [and continuing] its mission of restoring the historic built environment of Falmouth while simultaneously preserving Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage,” FHR collaborates with a number of international partners including the UNESCO World Heritage Center and the World Monuments Fund. FHR recruits much of its labor for restoration through its Youth Training and Apprenticeship Programs, designed to teach work skills, give students “pride in the cultural heritage of the town” and also “create identity and ownership of the history of the place.”

Founded in 1958, the JNHT is dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings and sites throughout the island. The website hosts a range of documentation and media related to a number of restoration/preservation projects in each parish. Specific to Falmouth, their “Documents and Forms” page provides a detailed look at JNHT’s design guidelines for the Historic District Of Falmouth.

Partnered with FHR and JNHT, The Falmouth Project is an “online geo-spatially accessible archive of information about the historic architecture of Falmouth, Jamaica.” Including essays on the history of the city, a wealth of maps, and images of the 764 buildings that fall within the boundaries of the district.

  • Royal Caribbean International

These two major ad campaigns by Royal Caribbean help to productively illustrate the strategic historical erasure actively produced and aggressively sold to cruise tourists. “The Nation of Why Not,” campaign presents Royal Caribbean as a sovereign nation of pleasure-seekers, while Royal Caribbean’s latest, “Come Seek” campaign lays claim to the tourist’s secession from even the term tourist and the geographical space of the Caribbean as it declares, a new corporate cartography. The slogan, “This is not a cruise. You are not a tourist. This is not the Caribbean. This is Royal Caribbean,” exemplifies the ways in which the neocolonial discourse of tourism is always evolving to accommodate new consumer fantasies and produce new vocabularies of desire.

    II.         “Weaponized Architecture”

To expand my essay’s discussion of spatial violence, I turn to two brief blog posts by architect Léopold Lambert as he describes architecture as “intrinsically an instrument of the organization of bodies in space, whatever the motivation for a given organizational scheme, and whether it is accomplished deliberately or not” and the slave ship as “weaponized architecture.” Lambert is the founder of the printed and digital magazine, The Funambulist: Politics of Space and Bodies, the latest issue of which focuses on the relationship between design and racism— a subject that broadly underpins much of my current research. The Funambulist’s Podcast, Archipelago, has recently hosted several guest speakers/scholars to address the variant forms and stakes of these shared logics.

     III.         Cruise Ships and Slave Labor

Lastly, while my essay focuses primarily on the imaginative and spatial economies which link the slave ship, the war ship, and the cruise ship, I would like to make room here to think more fully about the crucial and often invisibilized labor economies—specifically, migrant labor economies—which bind these spaces historically and symbolically. The “sweatship” working conditions for many cruiseline employees—particularly those workers that often remain below deck and out of tourists’ lines of sight e.g. kitchen and cleaning staff—are so seldom monitored or reported on. Labor is often recruited from developing countries where migrant workers are subject to long contracts (six to twelve months), inhabit cramped shared quarters below deck, and often remain on the ship for the duration of this time without sufficient breaks. Maintaining a largely invisible labor force adrift at sea, cruise ships frequently shirk international law and operate under “flags of convenience” to avoid accountability for workers’ rights, among other responsibilities. As International Transport Worker’s Federation reports,

“A flag of convenience ship is one that flies the flag of a country other than the country of ownership. For workers onboard, this can mean: very low wages, poor on-board conditions, inadequate food and clean drinking water, long periods of work without proper rest, leading to stress and fatigue. By ‘flagging out’, ship owners can take advantage of minimal regulation, cheap registration fees, low or no taxes, and the freedom to employ cheap labour from the global labour market”

Additionally, many cruise liner employees often find themselves indebted to the company in the form of exorbitant boarding fees and are forced to begin work at a deficit. This puts workers in an increasingly vulnerable position as they work to pay their low wages against their increasing debt with the addition of lodging and food and food costs. The parallel between cruise ships and slavery is made explicit in this Guardian article, “Cruise Liner Cruise Slave Below Decks.”

However, most recently, a New York Times article describing the creation of a “caste-system” on-board cruise ships, focuses on the disparities between regular guests and VIP guests and fails to make mention (even once) of the class-based, racialized hierarchies which define the working and living conditions (e.g. how far they are housed below deck) for crew members of different occupations and work duties (e.g. entertainment and programming vs. janitorial and maintenance). Thus the slave-port-turned-cruise-port reveals a vast array of implications concerning not only the strategic historical erasure of the port site itself, but also the further invisibilization of present-day working conditions for cruise laborers. 

Carceral Conservationism: Contested Landscapes and Technologies of Dispossession at Ka‘ena Point, Hawai‘i
Laurel Mei-Singh

 “The Pohaku are Restless…” reads the heading of a December 21, 2010 blog post on the Ka‘ena Cultural Practice Project website. It was posted just over a month after the initiation of the construction of a 630-meter fence around Ka‘ena Point on the northwest tip of O‘ahu. The post depicts a picture of a boulder, which appears to have a face, resting at the bottom of a hill at Ka‘ena. Beneath, comments respond to the photograph: “Someone may be unhappy?” and “…too much pilikia [trouble] in Ka‘ena!” and “Da mana [power] is there fo’real!” Fishing overnight, Al Sabagala, a lawai‘a (fisher) who I introduce in my essay, had heard a deep rumbling like thunder. The next morning, the worker who had been posted to watch the fence materials explained to Al that the boulder had materialized seemingly out of nowhere, rolled down the mountain, and landed near his station. Yet Al was certain that the noise it had made surpassed the sound of a pohaku (rock) rolling down a hill.

The State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) built the fence with the stated purpose of keeping out of predators such as rodents and small mammals to protect birds and indigenous plants. Yet, as I detail in my essay, lawai‘a oppose the fence because they see it as part of a strategy to divide the land and displace fishers from the area. At the same time, it produces a secure space for tourists to take pictures of birds and seals. Although the State of Hawai‘i completed fence construction on March 30, 2011, the pohaku affirmed to lawai‘a that Ka‘ena’s environment holds power that exceeds that of the fence. Indeed, lawai‘a noted in late 2015 noted that much of the hood had fallen off due to rusting from metal oxidation that resulted from the saltwater spray.

The fence, in the words of activist Kyle Kajihiro, advances an environmentally productive regime of control that enforces a set of expectations for citizens premised on their relationship to the natural world. Yet these photos convey that partitions are not inevitable; rather, they are perpetually incomplete due to both the power of the land and the persistence of lawai‘a. In addition to documenting the fence’s erosion, lawai‘a employed a range of legal, cultural and political strategies to contest the fence, and they continue to fish and camp overnight at Ka‘ena. Yet the fences, along with the fines issued to lawai‘a for camping and permitting systems regulating entry, cast lawai‘a and people who live outside as threats. In this endeavor, the DLNR and the US military criminalize people living in intimate relation to the natural world. My essay draws parallels between the Ka‘ena fence and the fence surrounding nearby Makua Military Reservation—where the military now funds conservation programs—to show how fences coexisting with conservation efforts interrupt, manage, and control land-based relationships. In this endeavor, they contain indigenous practices that present viable noncapitalist modes of survival. While conservation efforts at Mākua legitimize military control of land, conservation at Ka‘ena secures conditions for tourism and thus accumulation. As such, carceral conservationism advances the twin projects of war and capitalism.

It is my hope that this AQ essay may be useful in educational settings. I’ve compiled some possible sources and questions that can spur discussion about carceral conservationism in Hawai‘i as part of a broader global project of displacement. 

The website for the Ka‘ena Cultural Practice Project includes a link to the above film Resistir Para Existir, about displaced indigenous fishers on the Baja Coast of Mexico. It conveys parallels between the fishers of Mexicali and the lawai‘a of Ka‘ena.

The film “Rebel Architecture” describes the function of the West Bank wall dividing Israel from Palestine. In it, Eyal Weizman states, “the architectural principle of the Israeli occupation is a way of maintaining separation and exercising control.”

Bringing the discussion back to Hawai‘i, the above video of Mauna Kea protests on April 2, 2015 shows the criminalization of protest movements on the islands and presents starkly opposing views of the law.

Here are some questions an educator could pose when facilitating a discussion about carceral conservationism and one or a few of these videos:

1. What stands out to you? (This is always the first question I pose after screening films.)
2. In the first clip, why is fishing so important to the Cucapá people?
3. In the second clip, what does Eyal Weizman mean by the term, “architecture of violence?”
4. What issues do Ka’ena lawai’a share with protesters at Mauna Kea, fishers in Baja, and people on the West Bank?
5. As portrayed by these films, what does the partitioning of space, including the construction of fences, walls and cages accomplish?

  • Where do you see walls and fences in your every day environment?
  • Do these walls and fences accomplish similar objectives?

6. If criminalization is about containing a threat, what kind of threat do Ka‘ena lawai‘a and people in these films pose and to whom? What then does criminalization accomplish?
7. How does life persist living amidst fences and other forms of enclosure?

Off-Duty Resilience: Reorienting Tourism, Leisure, and Recreation in the US Army BOSS Program
Debbie Lisle

This paper explores a current example of the rather unexplored link between army life, tourism and recreation. Along with regular training, fitness and active duty, army life also includes many moments of ‘down time’ where soldiers relax and sometimes engage in leisure pursuits like tourism, recreation and cultural activities. When soldiers are on active duty these excursions take the form of scheduled R&R breaks, but they also engage in many forms of daily leisure including playing video games, fitness training, reading and playing sports. I have written about the historical development of these activities in my book Holidays in the Danger Zone.

 This paper takes a more specific look at a program within the U.S. Army called Better Opportunities for Single SoldiersThis program began in the 1990s as an effort to direct soldiers away from some of the more ‘negative’ behaviours historically associated with R&R (e.g. drinking, drugs, prostitution), but quickly developed into a much more comprehensive program to help soldiers develop their leadership skills, contribute to the community through volunteering, and engage in ‘healthy’ recreational activities such as tourism, sightseeing and culture. As these soldiers in a BOSS promotional video explain, the program lets their voices be heard by senior command, but also contributes to the larger mission of ‘Army Strong’:

 One of the things that most interests me about the BOSS program is the way it encourages a rather narcissistic orientation for both individual soldiers and also for the Army as a whole. For example, while its efforts to help others through charity are certainly welcome (e.g. teaching English; helping in soup kitchens), the program as a whole is much more focused on using local communities to create a particular type of soldier: a leader, a humanitarian, a team-player and a cultured traveler. This paper explores the power relations required to build that ideal soldier: how leaders require an undisciplined rank and file in order to mould them properly; how volunteers require abject recipients of charity in order to demonstrate their magnanimity; how teamwork requires an acceptance of antagonism and competition; and how tourists require commodified locals to either symbolize an alien culture or serve them in an already unequal tourist industry.

 Perhaps the place where this narcissism plays out most clearly is in the BOSS programs in Korea. Listen to BOSS representative PFC Josephine Truncali discuss the ‘BOSS Across Korea’ event where American soldiers visited local attractions, ate local food, and learned about ‘life skills’:

This event is not about equal engagement, dialogue or exchange between Americans and Koreans; rather, it is about how soldiers like Truncali can use an already fixed idea of ‘ancient’ and ‘exotic’ Korea to learn about herself, her capacities, her interests and her abilities to be open to other cultures. This familiar reduction of local culture is exemplified most clearly in the annual ‘Beach Blast’ event where BOSS rents out an entire beach resort on the West Coast of Korea for a four day party:

 As American soldiers from across the peninsula arrive for an extended party, Koreans either leave the resort entirely, or are relegated to the roles of ‘entertainer’ or ‘server’ catering to the needs of visiting soldiers. This is certainly an improvement on the horrific stories of military prostitution attached to the experience of R&R; indeed, here soldiers can ‘let off steam’ with each other without hurting the local community. This does not, however, mean that this event is entirely innocent. It continues to reproduce worrying power relations that value the visiting soldiers' needs over that of the local community, evacuate or completely reduce the complexity of Korean culture to something subservient, and prevent transformative cross-cultural encounters. In this sense, the opening shot of the BOSS ‘Beach Blast’ event is particularly apt: American soldiers wearing large plastic bubble suits smashing into each other and falling over. Army Strong indeed.

Heroes of the Open (Third) World: Killing as Pleasure in Ubisoft’s Far Cry Series
Christopher B. Patterson

 One of my underlying goals in writing “Heroes of the Open (Third) World” was to begin constructing a forum for Game Studies within American Studies proper. My hope is that American Quarterly can provide a platform to ask meaningful political questions about gaming.

By 2016, games are clearly here to stay. Yearly statistics on gaming have invoked consistent comparisons of games to the film industry in terms of consumption, popularity, and social effects, which imply that games will be the main influential artistic phenomenon of the twenty-first century, in the way that films were of the twentieth. Games are clearly a very rich field of research, but researching them is difficult for two main reasons: (1) the dismissal of video games as unique and significant cultural texts, as they are seen as infantile or apolitical (or badly political), and (2) the limitations of game studies discourse itself, which too often refuses to engage with meaningful political questions concerning empire, race and sexuality, beyond appeals for better representation (with some notable exceptions, particularly the books Games of Empire and Gaming at the Edge). While my published essay deals mainly with the first problem (the dismissal of video games), here I want to touch on the second problem (the limits of game studies) by sharing my experience at multiple conference sites where portions of this paper were presented.

 The 2016 Popular Culture Association / American Cultural Association (PCA/ACA) Conference in Seattle, Washington, had twenty panels on game studies, all within one room. And for the majority of the conference, this “gamer room” appeared to be the most white and male dominated space at the conference. Speakers did acknowledge that this lack of diversity was a problem, yet the humorous tone of the panels—with inside jokes and casual presentations on “virtual sauntering” and bearded dragons playing ant smashing games—suggested that the boys-club phenomenon was in full effect, with most participants enjoying the “in the know” banter without fear of someone feeling excluded or of themselves being called out to task. The lack of being fundamentally challenged by others has left much of the field over-committed to questions that lack substantial outcomes, or that seriously investigate the relationship between games and power.

A second conference confirmed my initial feelings, The International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) conference held in Hong Kong in May 2016. Like the PCA/ACA Conference, ISEA had a room dedicated to game studies, which again, was almost entirely male and majority (white/Chinese) dominated. Despite being in Hong Kong, not one game scholar mentioned the manufacturing process of these games, particularly the heinous association of game manufacturing with the exploitation of young women in the Pearl River Delta, made visible through the 2012 suicides at Foxconn. I raised this issue during the Q&A of a panel that contained the word “labor” in its title. I received only blank stares, with one panelist agreeing that sexism in gaming was definitely a problem. To add a callousness to this indifference, the most talked about moment in the gaming room was not the exclusion of the exploitation of game production, but a long spat between a renowned game scholar and members of the crowd who disagreed with his close reading of Ian Bogosts’ Persuasive Games (over whether or not Bogosts’ view of “procedural rhetoric” takes semiotics fully into account).

While conferences on popular culture have felt confined to the discourse of the traditional game studies crowd, conferences that I’ve attended in American Studies and Ethnic Studies have had a lack of game scholarship, practically ignoring the impact of this cultural phenomenon. My published essay attempts to fill this gap by asking questions that pertain more to American Studies: How does gameplay that requires players to virtually kill Asians reproduce and secure the player’s identity and social world? How can violent gameplay shock the player, unsettle them, or cause them to reassess their given notions of third world space? My experience presenting this paper has been the same at every conference, whether it is in a “gaming room” or in a room with no game scholars at all. It is well received with applause, but with very little engagement.

One of the main reasons I came into game studies (besides being an avid gamer) was the anger I felt reading game scholarship that either ignored marginalization and oppression, or sought easy cures by appealing to game designers to do a better job representing “us.” But despite my anger, nearly every game studies scholar I have ever interacted with has welcomed my critiques, and has encouraged raising more fundamental issues concerning the larger political and cultural stakes of the field. Indeed, these critical perspectives on gaming have gained traction in popular game magazines, podcasts and ezines, particularly from the work of Austin Walker (a previous editor for Giant Bomb who is now working for Vice), Gita Jackson (Match 3 podcast), and Soha Kareem (Dames Making Games), as well as many, many others.

I doubt many game scholars will disagree with me that the main problem behind the obstacles of game studies is, and has been from the beginning, privilege: the privilege to be the male child who is given the game controller while their sister merely watches them play, the privilege of having the access as well as the confidence to use new technology, and the privilege to make it to academia with the presumption that you should study something “universal” (like new media) rather than studying yourselves (gender, race and queer studies). Of course, we end up studying ourselves regardless of the field, some of us more consciously than others. 

The last conference I’ll briefly discuss has not yet happened. It is the 2016 American Studies Association conference, set to occur in Denver, Colorado, at the end of November. Out of hundreds of presentations, only one will be focused on video games. Mine. I hope in the forthcoming years that this number grows, and that my essay helps develop a critical platform to confront our current moment.