Memorializing Pearl Harbor: Unfinished Histories and the Work of Remembrance
Geoffrey M. White is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i. He is the coeditor of Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s), also published by Duke University Press, and author of Identity through History: Living Stories in a Solomon Islands Society.
Pedagogy, Patriotism, and Paranoia
This chapter further expands the boundaries of the memorial to consider educational programs in the form of teacher workshops organized or coorganized by the author each summer for seven years with grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Given sponsorship from a federal agency, the workshop lectures and discussions also became subjects for discussion and debate about what should or should not be included in teaching Pearl Harbor history. One of the early points of contention was the inclusion of Hawaiian political history, particularly the history of the expansion of U.S. empire in the Pacific, which included incorporation of Hawai‘i as a colonial territory, motivated in part by interest in Pearl Harbor as a site for a naval base. Then on Veterans Day 2010 the Sean Hannity Fox news program criticized one of the workshops as promoting anti-American and antimilitary ideologies. The Fox broadcast hosted a disaffected participant and a representative of a veterans organization to put a spotlight on the “scandal” of such programs receiving funding from the NEH. The chapter discusses this dispute in terms of the idea of sacred history in realms that memorialize national war dead.