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Title: The Army Learns to Luau: Imperial Hospitality and Military Photography in Hawai‘i 
Author: Imada, Adria L.
Date: 2008
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Island Studies
Citation: Imada, A. L. 2008. The Army Learns to Luau: Imperial Hospitality and Military Photography in Hawai‘i. The Contemporary Pacific 20 (2): 329-61.
Abstract: Circulating in the contemporary global cultural marketplace, the tourist luau is
an iconic form of commodified hospitality and leisure, readily available in embodied
and mediated forms. This article traces the emergence of the luau as a material
practice and discursive formation during the “mili-touristic” economy of World
War II Hawai‘i in films shot by US military units. US combat photography units
staged ethnographic performances of hula and luaus, transforming the luau from
a privileged experience for a select few to a mass mediated event. These filmic
performances produced scripts of imperial hospitality: imagined and enacted
scripts in which Islanders and soldiers play roles as host and guest, respectively.
Military luaus rendered uneven colonial relationships as mutual and consensual
encounters between white soldiers and Native women. Through the exercise of
biopower, military cameras did not merely discipline Hawaiian populations, but
also integrated colonial subjects and regulated Hawaiian sexuality. These gendered
scripts continue to secure Hawai‘i as a rest and relaxation capital for US
military personnel.
ISSN: 1043–898X
Keywords: militarization, photography, biopower, sexuality, hula, luau
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.

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