A Lecture by Dr. Keith Camacho
Fromm Hall, Berman Room - 5:00pm-6:30pm
What is the state of the U.S. Empire in the twenty-first century Pacific? In this talk, Dr. Camacho will address this question by examining articulations for and against queer freedom in two U.S. colonies: that is, the state of Hawai‘i and the territory of Guam. He will specifically discuss the successful legalization of Bill 232 in Hawai‘i and the failed passage of Bill 185 in Guam—bills about “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships,” respectively—so as to signal a profound ideological shift in the U.S. colonization of these Pacific Islands. Drawing from feminist, native, and postcolonial studies, he likens this shift to a discursive and material process he calls “homomilitarism,” wherein the same-sex erotics of queer freedom have emerged to confront and reproduce the dominant paradigm of heternormativity in the militarist and tourist industries of the Pacific. While these systems appear as distinct and unrelated, he will demonstrate how they, in fact, comprise a new U.S. imperial discourse of citizenship, desire, and oppression in the contemporary Pacific.
Keith L. Camacho is an associate professor of Pacific Islander Studies in the Asian American Studies Department at UCLA. He is also the senior editor of Amerasia Journal, as well as the author of Cultures of Commemoration: The Politics of War, Memory, and History in the Mariana Islands and the co-editor of Militarized Currents: Toward a Decolonized Future in Asia and the Pacific. In addition to his involvement in various Chamorro and Pacific Islander community organizations, Professor Camacho has held research appointments in indigenous studies at the Australian National University, the University of Canterbury, and the University of Illinois. He is presently writing a book on colonialism, law, and punishment as a Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellow with the American Council of Learned Societies.