Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/1809
Date of Award
MA in History
The everyday experiences of Waikiki’s residents of color often escaped official and semi-official records of historical events. When concerning Native Hawaiians and other nonwhite peoples, haole elite journalists and policymakers viewed their land, possessions, and bodies as opportunities for the cultural commodification, sexualization, and reimagination. As part of the redevelopment efforts of the Waikiki shoreline in the early twentieth century, state and commercial actors worked to affect the systematic erasure of Native Hawaiian and resident Asian spaces. This study utilizes extensive collections of oral histories from marginalized Waikiki residents of color to provide counterpoint to notions of indigenous passivity and ‘native’ savagery perpetuated by hegemonic colonial influences. In conjunction with an “against the grain” reading of print sources, including legislation records, newspaper articles, advertisements, and tourist literature, the study of Waikiki’s oral histories revealed a narrative of everyday resistance and cultural amalgamation in opposition to forces of assimilation and control. Focusing within the first four decades of the twentieth century, the project highlights the social development of Waikiki over that span. It provides vivid reinterpretation of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender in the space. The study examines the territorial government's application of biopower against vulnerable, multiethnic populations with respect to immigration and redevelopment, while simultaneously uncovering everyday resistance to that power.