Academic journal article American Studies

ALOHA AMERICA: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire

Academic journal article American Studies

ALOHA AMERICA: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire

Article excerpt

ALOHA AMERICA: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire. By Adria L. Imada. Durham: Duke University Press. 2012.

Aloha America maps the circuits through which relationships between the United States and Hawai'i are intimately imagined, and the ways in which the deeply gendered and racialized hula practices and performers function as the conduit, if transnationally, through which these circuits circulate. "Imagined intimacy" is in- deed a concept that the book introduces to understand "a potent fantasy that enabled Americans to possess their island colony physically and figuratively" ( 11 ), a process that is embodied in these live hula circuits.

Not another book that simply frames Hawaiians as yet again "victims" of impe- rial and global economy, Aloha America paints a nuanced picture of hula performers as "actors operating within U.S. colonizing processes" (25). It takes us through a journey that explores the late nineteenth-century hula circuit in Honolulu, the danc- ers' experiences of navigating colonial spaces in the United States and Europe, the Hawaiian men's experiences as the hula brokers, and the ways in which imagined intimacy is maintained through the military photography of these hula shows.

The brilliance of this book does not stop there, however. …

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