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Picturing Hawai'i: The "Ideal" Native and the Origins of Tourism, 1880-1915

Picturing Hawai'i: The "Ideal" Native and the Origins of Tourism, 1880-1915 position,- 7:2 0 1999by Duke University Press. positions 7:2 Fall 1999 This nostalgic evocation of the past, used to promote an event of key significance to Native Hawaiians and others involved in hula, is also an unsettling reminder of another era, one that turns u p just a few pages later. A large advertisement for a Hilo gallery selling vintage Hawaiian photography features two other sepia-toned photos of bare-breasted hula dancers in ti-leaf skirts. Posed in photographers’ studios around the turn of the century, these dancers lacked the breast-covering leis of the magazine photo. Their near-nudity constructed a different version of Hawaiian women. If the cover photo was meant to celebrate a pre-European-contact past, before the missionaries covered breasts, brought cloth skirts, and drove the hula underground, these photographs did likewise, but with very different intent. T h e title of the gallery advertisement, “Buying and Selling,” prompts the question, Buying and selling what to whom? T h e answer is found in the nexus of visual representation, “primitivism,” and the version of the feminine that the old photographs-early icons of an emerging tourist industry -promoted. In this article, I suggest that turn-of-the-century imperial expansion, “scientific” discourses of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Picturing Hawai'i: The "Ideal" Native and the Origins of Tourism, 1880-1915

positions asia critique , Volume 7 (2) – Sep 1, 1999

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 1999 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-7-2-459
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

position,- 7:2 0 1999by Duke University Press. positions 7:2 Fall 1999 This nostalgic evocation of the past, used to promote an event of key significance to Native Hawaiians and others involved in hula, is also an unsettling reminder of another era, one that turns u p just a few pages later. A large advertisement for a Hilo gallery selling vintage Hawaiian photography features two other sepia-toned photos of bare-breasted hula dancers in ti-leaf skirts. Posed in photographers’ studios around the turn of the century, these dancers lacked the breast-covering leis of the magazine photo. Their near-nudity constructed a different version of Hawaiian women. If the cover photo was meant to celebrate a pre-European-contact past, before the missionaries covered breasts, brought cloth skirts, and drove the hula underground, these photographs did likewise, but with very different intent. T h e title of the gallery advertisement, “Buying and Selling,” prompts the question, Buying and selling what to whom? T h e answer is found in the nexus of visual representation, “primitivism,” and the version of the feminine that the old photographs-early icons of an emerging tourist industry -promoted. In this article, I suggest that turn-of-the-century imperial expansion, “scientific” discourses of

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 1999

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