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(Re)searching identity : being Chamorro in an American colony

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Item Summary

Title: (Re)searching identity : being Chamorro in an American colony
Authors: Cruz, Mary Therese Flores
Keywords: Chamorro
Issue Date: Aug 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2012]
Abstract: Identity has emerged at the core of many political and social debates among indigenous communities. Identity is socially constructed, carried in language, expressed in mundane routine, liable to revision and routinely contested. The way in which we understand different groups within our political interactions is changing, resulting in a change in the way these groups understand and define themselves within their communities and to others. Therefore, it is important that we reexamine the notion of identity in light of this constantly changing nature of political studies.
In 1944, American military forces landed on Guam to (re)capture the island after it was invaded by the Japanese. The American military, then, secured control of the island and began rehabilitation efforts that eventually led to the construction of large military bases that would facilitate the continued occupation of Guam by Americans. Since WWII, Chamorus have confronted the many drastic political, social, and cultural changes that came with this period of Americanization, modernization, and globalization. Chamorus were forced to contend with the melding of two cultures in the midst of a drastically changing world; and Chamoru identity, inevitably, became implicated in these changes brought on by American colonialism.
This project examines the emergence of Chamoru identity on Guam as Chamorus continued to negotiate their place within the context of American rule. This project further (re)searches Chamoru identity as it has been re-imagined since the "liberation" of the island through the use of historical texts, social and cultural symbols of identity, and Chamoru narratives. It critically examines the extent to which Guam's American colonizer helped shape Chamoru identity as well as the role that Chamorus played in the negotiation of their identities. While identity tends to be analyzed in terms of psychological and social motives, this project instead looks at the historical and political impetus through which identity becomes re-imagined. This suggests that, in the negotiation between power and agency, a Chamorro identity was formed and then internalized, maintained, and deployed in the colonial context by both the American colonizer and the colonized Chamoru to facilitate the continued domination of the island and its people.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Political Science

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