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Unsustainable Empire : Alternative Histories of Hawai`i Statehood, Paperback / softback Book

Unsustainable Empire : Alternative Histories of Hawai`i Statehood Paperback / softback


In Unsustainable Empire Dean Itsuji Saranillio offers a bold challenge to conventional understandings of Hawai`i's admission as a U.S. state. Hawai`i statehood is popularly remembered as a civil rights victory against racist claims that Hawai`i was undeserving of statehood because it was a largely non-white territory.

Yet Native Hawaiian opposition to statehood has been all but forgotten.

Saranillio tracks these disparate stories by marshaling a variety of unexpected genres and archives: exhibits at world's fairs, political cartoons, propaganda films, a multimillion-dollar hoax on Hawai`i's tourism industry, water struggles, and stories of hauntings, among others.

Saranillio shows that statehood was neither the expansion of U.S. democracy nor a strong nation swallowing a weak and feeble island nation, but the result of a U.S. nation whose economy was unsustainable without enacting a more aggressive policy of imperialism.

With clarity and persuasive force about historically and ethically complex issues, Unsustainable Empire provides a more complicated understanding of Hawai`i's admission as the fiftieth state and why Native Hawaiian place-based alternatives to U.S. empire are urgently needed.


  • Format: Paperback / softback
  • Pages: 312 pages, 27 illustrations
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of the Americas
  • ISBN: 9781478000839

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