Abstract: The racialized logics that uphold and perpetuate U.S. settler colonialism are not confined within U.S. borders. Instead, the legacies of white settler colonization and American Indian resistance are woven into processes of Americanization, globalization, transnational migrations, and cultural exchange. The role of white settler cultural production in the ongoing process of U.S. settler colonialism is well-established, as well as the advent of mass culture in facilitating cultural exchange between the U.S. and Europe. Regarding the specific relationship between the United States and Italy, many studies have noted the immense influence of the mythology of the American West in Italian cultural production and, conversely, the impact Italian emigrants to the United States left on American culture and society. The ways in which U.S. settler colonialism intersects with and connects these histories brings to light how U.S. settler colonialism has evolved into an international, rather than solely American, project. “Italy’s American West: Brava Gente, American Indians, and the Circulation of Settler Colonialism” positions the Italian state and Italians as settlers-from-afar of the American West in this evolution. The simultaneity of circulations of American mass culture in Italy, Italian colonialism in Africa, and mass Italian emigration to the United States imbued the development of Italian national identity with U.S. settler colonial logics and expanded the global influence of U.S. settler colonialism. Buffalo Bill’s two tours of Italy in 1890 and 1906, the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, and Western-themed Italian comic books published from 1948 to today intertwined U.S. white settler cultural production with Italian cultural production. Viewing this cultural production under the umbrella of “transnational settler colonialism”—the circulation of U.S. settler logics and Native resistance in the movements of people and ideas between Italy and the United States—frames them as evidence that U.S. settler colonialism helped construct Italian national identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and continues to inform Italian expressions of colonial desires.

Abstract: This dissertation examines Hawaiian sovereignty in history, law, and activism. The project tracks Indigenous claims, negotiations, and articulations of sovereignty in Hawai‘i. Using a critically Indigenous approach to Hawaiian studies, I advance two main theses. First, Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) are discussed as a community divided on Hawaiian sovereignty. However, I contend that Kānaka Maoli exercise a diversity of strategies and tactics for Hawaiian sovereignty. I show how Kānaka Maoli practice multiple modalities of sovereignty that cumulatively produce the Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (Indigenous Hawaiian) politics of ea (life and sovereignty). Second, the historical development of settler colonial capitalism operationalized the US settler-state in Hawai‘i and fuels its management of Kānaka Maoli in contemporary struggles with federal recognition, nation-building, and astronomy industry development. Yet, Kanaka ‘Ōiwi artists and activists engage in geontologies of aloha ‘āina—a geographic way of being in the ‘āina (land and that which feeds)—that seek to overturn settler colonial capitalism and its champion the US settler-state. I argue that these practices issue gifts that disidentify with dominant ideologies of sovereignty as a way of reimagining ea for a decolonized then and deoccupied there. Therefore, my project explains the nefarious ways that the settler-state attempts to cohere territorial control to juridical authority and how Kānaka Maoli antagonize and disrupt the precariousness of settler sovereignty in Hawai‘i. Intervening into Indigenous Studies, Hawaiian Studies, and critical theories, the study offers new insights on the complex relationship between settler colonial capitalism and Hawaiian sovereignty.

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