Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been out of town for the past few days at a conference up in Berkeley. The conference was fairly interesting, discussing decolonization of land, culture, the mind and the academy.
Here's the abstract, for the paper submitted:
Cultures entangled in colonialism are faced with the impossibility of their own existences. Though most often articulated as the control of land and resources, a central part of colonization is the creation and imposition of identities and hegemonies upon the colonized. Therefore the most successful form of colonization means more than just altering the terrain of the colonies, but rather altering of the terrain of the colonized, and changing the terms/limits through which discourse can be made and knowledge or culture be legitimized or de-legitimized. The creation and common acceptance of these hegemonies is what makes the would be performative “postcolonial” in general a difficulty, but in cases such as Guam, it makes the culture of the colonized, namely the Chamorros, an impossibility.
Impossibility in this way should be interpreted as broadly as possible. It refers to the subtle ways in which statements intended to express certain points (in this instance, the existence or vitality of Chamorro culture), tend to unravel themselves and make the thing they describe unattainable, incomplete or unattainable.
This paper will focus on the ways in which this impossibility has been deployed through the island’s media since 1898, with particular focus on Guam’s current primary news outlet today, The Pacific Daily News from 2001-2005. Since the creation of the island’s first newspaper in 1907 up til today, the role of the media in Guam has been to defend and maintain American hegemony in Guam. In pre-World War II Guam, newspapers such as the Guam Newsletter and Guam Recorder were integral to the Navy’s efforts to whiten and civilize Chamorros, often explicitly depicting and referring to them as children who needed to be more like “their dad” Uncle Sam. Following World War II, newspapers such as The Pacific Daily News have continued this task of rearticulating Chamorros as incomplete or inadequate people, albeit in more subtle ways. Through representations of Chamorro culture in the context of diaspora, military service and Chamorro identity the impossibility of Chamorro culture is consistently rearticulated, by reproducing colonizing discourses of Chamorro infantilization, inferiority and dependency on the United States.The goal of this paper is to discuss how these “impossibilities” make impossible efforts to decolonize Guam or to achieve Chamorro political self-determination therefore fulfilling the strategic desires of the United States military to control Guam’s space.