Studies on swimming and surfing history are reviewed. They open up new perspectives on the relationship between politics, culture, and gender. These water sports can be seen historically as political and determined by local, national, and global conditions. Each study historicizes the politics of aquatic pleasure. Fighting the Current foregrounds American women's swimming challenge to the social order. Waves of Resistance looks to the contested nature of the surf zone in reclaiming Hawaiian surfing “traditions” and masculinities marginalized by Western cultural appropriation. Empire in Waves documents the Americanization of surfing, how it expanded globally as a politically ambiguous cultural practice, and carried with it the seeds of US imperialism.

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