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Oceanic Imagination, Racial Performance, American Empire

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Abstract:

This paper traces the limits of the “geographical imagination” as a tool for theorizing the ways in which race is globally, regionally, and nationally articulated. Popularized by Said, the “geographical imagination” is a cross-disciplinary paradigm describing the discursive work of ideational cartography that brings distant and disparate places – and their human properties – into an operational coherence and renders them answerable to specific imperatives of power or interest. In this paper I am interested in thinking beyond axes like East-West, North-South, or aggregations such as Pacific Rim, APEC, the Orient, and the racializations they impel. Instead I want to think about the possibilities of what Epeli Hau’ofa has called an Oceanic imaginary, one brought into being not by territorial imperatives, but through Pacific peoples’ shared sense of a world shaped by interaction with the sea. If we think space as motion, current, East and West not as locations but as directions that both diffuse and isolate social collectivities; if we think of their mimetic repertoires not as mines of symbolic power irrevocably yoked to specific geo-political interests, but in terms of their distribution and translocal effects; if we add to compass points other ways of articulating emplacement – the circular past-future-past axis of mytho-history, the world-spirit axis of cosmogony… what might be the consequences for the way we theorize race? And how does capital work in and across such an imaginary?
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Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.theasa.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244286_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Werry, Margaret. "Oceanic Imagination, Racial Performance, American Empire" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, New Mexico, <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244286_index.html>

APA Citation:

Werry, M. "Oceanic Imagination, Racial Performance, American Empire" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, New Mexico <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244286_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: This paper traces the limits of the “geographical imagination” as a tool for theorizing the ways in which race is globally, regionally, and nationally articulated. Popularized by Said, the “geographical imagination” is a cross-disciplinary paradigm describing the discursive work of ideational cartography that brings distant and disparate places – and their human properties – into an operational coherence and renders them answerable to specific imperatives of power or interest. In this paper I am interested in thinking beyond axes like East-West, North-South, or aggregations such as Pacific Rim, APEC, the Orient, and the racializations they impel. Instead I want to think about the possibilities of what Epeli Hau’ofa has called an Oceanic imaginary, one brought into being not by territorial imperatives, but through Pacific peoples’ shared sense of a world shaped by interaction with the sea. If we think space as motion, current, East and West not as locations but as directions that both diffuse and isolate social collectivities; if we think of their mimetic repertoires not as mines of symbolic power irrevocably yoked to specific geo-political interests, but in terms of their distribution and translocal effects; if we add to compass points other ways of articulating emplacement – the circular past-future-past axis of mytho-history, the world-spirit axis of cosmogony… what might be the consequences for the way we theorize race? And how does capital work in and across such an imaginary?


Similar Titles:
Racial Performance and Culture in the Construction of Japanese American Ethnicity

Modeling Citizen-Soldiers: Military Desegregation, Racial Liberalism, and American Empire during the Korean War

Witnessing an American Scene: Racial Performances of "the South" in Canada


 
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