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    Original Essays | July 14, 2015

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      All This Life

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American Aloha: Cultural Tourism and the Negotiation of Tradition


American Aloha: Cultural Tourism and the Negotiation of Tradition Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

At the 1989 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, throngs of visitors gathered on the National Mall to celebrate Hawai'i's multicultural heritage through its traditional arts. The edu-tainment spectacle revealed a richly complex Hawai'i few tourists ever see and one never before or since replicated in a national space. The program was restaged a year later in Honolulu for a local audience and subsequently inspired several spin-offs in Hawai'i. In both Washington, D.C., and Honolulu, the program instigated a new paradigm for cultural representation. Based on archival research and extensive interviews with festival organizers and participants, this innovative cross-disciplinary study uncovers the behind-the-scenes negotiations and processes that inform the national spectacle of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Intersecting the fields of museum studies, folklore studies, Hawaiian studies, performance studies, cultural studies, and American studies, American Aloha supplies a nuanced analysis of how the carefully crafted staging of Hawai'i's cultural diversity was used to serve a national narrative of utopian multiculturalism--one that collapsed social inequities and tensions, masked colonial history, and subordinated indigenous politics--while empowering Hawai'i's traditional artists and providing a model for cultural tourism that has had long-lasting effects. Heather Diamond deftly positions the 1989 program within a history of institutional intervention in the traditional arts of Hawai'i's ethnic groups as well as in relation to local cultural revivals and the tourist industry. By tracing the planning, fieldwork, site design, performance, and aftermath stages of the program, she examines theuneven processes through which local culture is transformed into national culture and raises questions about the stakes involved in cultural tourism for both culture bearers and culture brokers.

Book News Annotation:

The astounding success of the 1989 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which focused on Hawai'i's multicultural heritage through its traditional arts, provides the focus of this title. Diamond (English and American Studies, University of Hawai'i) examines the behind-the-scene negotiations and processes that informed the program, analyzing how the staging of Hawai'i's cultural diversity was used to serve a national narrative of utopian multiculturalism. A brief glossary of foreign words is included. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Diamond, Heather A
University of Hawaii Press
Diamond, Heather A.
Public opinion
Folklore & Mythology
Public opinion -- United States.
Folklore -- Hawaii.
Publication Date:
July 2008
9.19x6.54x1.02 in. 1.21 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Hawaii
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Chemistry » Chemical Engineering
Science and Mathematics » Chemistry » General
Science and Mathematics » Materials Science » Textiles

American Aloha: Cultural Tourism and the Negotiation of Tradition Used Hardcover
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Product details 261 pages University of Hawaii Press - English 9780824831714 Reviews:
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