Archipelagic American Studies
Empires and Archipelagoes
This essay argues that the “archipelagic” turn in American studies is a productive way to more fully engage Guam and the emergent field of Guam studies. It embodies an archipelagic structure by viewing Guam as a complex space contested by various populations and interests vying for representational, historiographical, ideological, and political power—revealing Guam to be more than just a footnote to US-American empire and an intellectual footnote to the field of American studies. Guam is instead seen as an important source of indigenous culture, history, literature, and scholarship, as well as a central node through which to analyze, understand, and critique US empire. This shift foregrounds the structures and fissures of territoriality in the formation and ongoing articulation of empire, drawing attention to how territorialisms have indelibly shaped auto-, intra-, inter-, and transarchipelagic relations.