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Conferences & lectures

Caught at the Cross-Currents of U.S. Imperialism: Hawaiian sovereignty and the convergence of U.S. occupation and settler colonialism

Date/time change

Date & time
Friday, November 13, 2020
3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui


This event is free


Sociology and Anthropology


Chris Hurl



Sociology & Anthropology Speakers Series


Despite massive global outcry and local protests, the U.S. Pacific Fleet will host its major biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise — the world’s largest naval exercise, with over two dozen nations participating — this year in Hawaiian waters amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than cancel the event altogether, this theater-level command of the U.S. Navy will be scaled back to two weeks of at-sea-only events, with fewer participants and no trips by sailors to Honolulu.

This talk will explore the politics of the international convergence and how it illuminates how Hawaiian sovereignty is subject to another convergence in the context of U.S. imperialism — an illegal military occupation and settler colonialism. With a focus on the politics of indigeneity “caught at the cross-currents,” the talk will focus on the urgency of non-statist approaches to decolonization in relation to the imperative of demilitarization for a post-pandemic archipelago.

About the speaker

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui is professor of American Studies and affiliate faculty in Anthropology at Wesleyan University, where she teaches courses on Indigenous studies, critical race studies, settler colonial studies and anarchist studies.

She is the author of Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Duke University Press 2008) and Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism (Duke University Press 2018). She is also the editor of Speaking of Indigenous Politics: Conversations with Activists, Scholars, and Tribal Leaders (University of Minnesota Press 2018).

Kauanui is one of the six original co-founders of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), established in 2008.

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