Territorial Discontent: Chamorros, Filipinos, and the Making of the United States Empire on Guam
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CitationOberiano, Kristin. 2021. Territorial Discontent: Chamorros, Filipinos, and the Making of the United States Empire on Guam. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Abstract“Territorial Discontent” is a century-long history of how the United States military shaped the colonial administration of Guam as a U.S. unincorporated territory from 1898 to 1997, and how the indigenous Chamorro people of Guam and Filipino migrants navigated, negotiated, and resisted the contradictions and complexities of race, indigeneity, land, and labor within empire. This dissertation shows how the colonial administration of Guam was predominantly dictated by the evolving needs of the U.S. military. The U.S. military’s desire to maintain Guam’s strategic location in order to project, expand, and ensure its geopolitical and military power in the Asia-Pacific region was dependent on the subjugation of Chamorros and Filipinos on Guam in different, yet overlapping colonial regimes. The U.S. military conducted carceral colonialism through its use of Guam as a penal colony for Filipino revolutionaries; military colonialism through its military Naval government from 1900-1941 and 1945-1950; settler colonialism and settler militarism through the integrated processes of Chamorro land annexation and the establishment of Filipino migrant labor regimes in the post-World War II era; and a multicultural and racial liberal imperial regime that stymied Chamorro claims to land and self-determination in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Moreover, this research specifically examines how the U.S. empire affected the local interracial political, cultural, and social relations of and between the Chamorro and Filipino communities on Guam. Chamorros continuously rearticulated their Chamorro identity to advocate for political rights within empire. Filipino migrants grappled with the material and cultural manifestations of racial ideologies within a colonial structure that perceived them as perpetually foreign. Because the U.S. colonial experience is distinct for indigenous peoples and migrants/immigrants, Chamorros and Filipinos sought different, sometimes contradicting political and social goals. While Chamorros attempted to protect claims to land, self-determination, and later indigenous rights, Filipinos generally followed the immigrant narrative and sought inclusion into the American nation-state. This disparity led to tensions between Chamorros and Filipinos which are indicative of a central conflict of settler colonial regimes -- the irreconcilable relationship between indigenous rights and immigrant rights within U.S. empire. Through a historicization of the triangulation of relationships between Chamorros, Filipinos, and the U.S. military, this study elucidates how the United States made its Pacific empire from the vantage point of the island of Guam.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37370117
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