Paradise Remade: The Politics of Culture and History in Hawai'i

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Temple University Press, Jun 17, 2010 - History - 288 pages
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This is a book about the politics of competing cultures and myths in a colonized nation. Elizabeth Buck considers the transformation of Hawaiian culture focusing on the indigenous population rather than on the colonizers. She describes how Hawaii's established religious, social, political, and economic relationships have changed in the past 200 years as a result of Western imperialism. Her account is particularly timely in light of the current Hawaiian demands for sovereignty 100 years after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893.

Buck examines the social transformation Hawaii from a complex hierarchical, oral society to an American state dominated by corporate tourism and its myths of paradise. She pays particular attention to the ways contemporary Hawaiians are challenging the use of their traditions as the basis for exoticized entertainment.

Buck demonstrates that sacred chants and hula were an integral part of Hawaiian social life; as the repository of the people's historical memory, chants and hula practices played a vital role in maintaining the links between religious, political, and economic relationships. Tracing the ways in which Hawaiian culture has been variously suppressed and constructed by Western explorers, New England missionaries, the tourist industry, ethnomusicologists, and contemporary Hawaiians, Buck offers a fascinating "rereading" of Hawaiian history.

 

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Paradise remade: the politics of culture and history in Hawai'i

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Buck proposes her work, based on her dissertation (Univ. of Hawaii), as an "alternative among other recent narratives that challenge the traditional accounts'' of Hawaiian history. She attempts this ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Thinking about Hawaiian History
19
Hawaii before Contact with the West
31
Western Penetration and Structural Transformation
57
Transformations in Ideological Representations Chant and Hula
101
Transformations in Language and Power
121
Contending Representations of Hawaiian Culture
163
Notes
193
Glossary
227
Index
231
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About the author (2010)

Elizabeth Buck is a Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai'i.