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Waikiki and the World - Critical Inquiry Project

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group
Organizers: William Terry
Chairs: William Terry


The session provides a report of independent research conducted by undergraduate students from Clemson University throughout 2019-20 with a critical inquiry project titled "Waikiki and the World: Hawaii and her people after colonialism". Hawaii and the rest of the Pacific Islands represent a special place in the cultural imagination of those who live outside of the region. Its image as a tropical paradise filled with exotic landscapes and peoples has been shaped through the lens of American pop culture from films, television shows, musical theater productions to party themed-sets and popular music. All of these inform the development and maintenance of Hawaii’s most important and well-known industry: tourism. However, the dominant framing of this culture that is presented to rest of the world is not necessarily one that is authored by or for the indigenous people of the region. As has happened throughout history in most parts of the world, development often progresses without consent from or participation of the indigenous peoples and at the cost of cultural erasure. In short, culture and sustainable practices of the indigenous have often eroded in the wake of economic and political development. In the case of the Pacific island peoples and of Hawaiians in particular, the impacts of imperialism, capitalism, and cultural assimilation on the peoples and environments of the Oceanic region are often overlooked. This Creative Inquiry provided an opportunity for students to evaluate the impact of colonialism and modern tourism on the physical and cultural integrity of the Hawaiian islands by exploring the history, art, and worship practices of the indigenous peoples. Each student has chosen their own topic of study within this scope and developed it throughout the year. Research culminated with a research trip to Hawaii in Spring 2020. Individual topical reports are provided in this session.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Winter Widdifield*, Clemson University, GMO Contestation: The History of the Introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms on the Islands of Hawaii 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Della Maggio*, Clemson University, In what ways have Hawaiian religion, culture, and language been commodified by exterior forces? 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Kathleen LaPorte*, Clemson University, Over the Rainbow: The Commercialization of Hawaii in American Popular Culture 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Ellerslie McCue*, Clemson University, Hawaiian Punch 15 12:00 AM
Discussant William Terry Clemson University 15 12:00 AM

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