Reordering Hawaiian Space: A View of Tourism in Settler Hawaii

Authors: Kate Schlott*, Graduate Center - City University of New York
Topics: Tourism Geography, Cultural Geography, Population Geography
Keywords: Hawaii, tourism, settler policy
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


The arrival of Europeans in 1778 in the Hawaiian Islands ushered in a period of cultural, societal, and economic transformations. The drastic decline in the native population coupled with the rise of immigrant labor over the course of the nineteenth century permanently altered the demographic composition of the Hawaiian Islands. With the annexation of Hawaii by the United States in 1898 the islands became subject to American federal policies. The passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) of 1921 drew boundaries around native and non-native identities, and created official categories of Hawaiian through the utilization of blood quantum technology for homesteading eligibility. Hawaii’s Statehood was contingent on the adoption of the HHCA, further entrenching Hawaii in economic development that was supported by a settler colonial framework. Since statehood the tourism industry has been as the economic engine of Hawaii, and as such it wields a significant amount of economic and political power, directly influencing development across the islands with the largest impacts seen on Oahu. Over-dependence on the tourism industry at times conflicts with the expectations of local communities, but this does not prevent the state from pursing efforts to expand the tourism market to the more rural neighbor islands of Oahu. This poster provides case studies of tourism on Oahu and Kauai to compare how these islands have embraced the industry. This study examines how the state links the formation and deployment of identity and place with the economic expansion of tourism in Hawaii.

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