How Not to Write the History of U.S. Empire - Japan Focus

The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus                          Volume 16 | Issue 24 | Number 3 | Dec 15, 2018

How Not to Write the History of U.S. Empire

Paul A. Kramer

Historical scholarship on U.S. overseas                  patterns, and    institutional structures; and the
colonialism in the twentieth century, a crucial          limits of U.S.   colonial power as it confronted
subset of a broader literature on U.S. empire,           popular and       elite resistance, institutional
has blossomed with unprecedented vitality over           dysfunction,     environmental obstacles, and
the past two decades. Working on U.S. colonial           inter-imperial   challenges.
rule and military occupation in the Philippines,
Hawai‘i, Guam, Samoa, Puerto Rico, the                   They have also advanced the project of
Panama Canal, Haiti, the Virgin Islands, and             unraveling the formidable, counterproductive
other locations under military-colonial control,         distinction between “formal” and “informal”
from positions in U.S. history, American                 empire by revealing both the spectrum of
Studies, Southeast Asian history, Pacific                sovereignties that lay between “dependency”
history, and Caribbean history, scholars have            and “independence” in U.S. imperial practice,
produced a stunning variety of works that have           and the profound reliance of U.S. commercial
complicated familiar narratives, uncovered the           expansion and military projection—the usual
voices of previously silenced agents, excavated          stuff of “informal empire”—upon U.S. overseas
neglected events and processes, altered                  colonies, as infrastructural and commercial
conventional timelines, and brought new                  anchors, military platforms, and institutional
analytic categories to bear on studied and               and ideological laboratories. Finally, these
unstudied pasts. Thanks to this scholarship,             scholars have seriously challenged the spatial
historians know more than ever about                     frames with which many U.S. historians have
colonialism’s complex impacts on the lands and           confined overseas colonialism to a distant,
people that came under U.S. control, the                 fleeting (and sometimes forgettable) “out
specific operations of a diverse array of colonial       there,” revealing the myriad ways that U.S.
regimes, as well as and the many and                     colonial empire came “home” to the
conflicting roles played by colonized subjects in        metropolitan United States in the form of
shaping U.S. impositions (resisting and                  migrating colonial subjects, circulating
delimiting, facilitating and enabling, initiating        commodities, refluxing innovations, and new,
and enacting). Their research is wide-ranging,           colonizing modes of nationalist, racialized, and
covering: the dialectical relationships between          gendered ideology. Without subordinating
asymmetrical           sovereignties         and         these histories to the requirements of U.S.
exceptionalizing ideologies of race, religion,           national history, they have transformed the
gender, and sexuality; colonialism’s                     historiography of the United States in the world
politicaleconomic operations, from modes of              by insisting on and demonstrating the
commodity production to regimes of labor                 centrality of U.S. colonialism to twentieth-
discipline to systems of financial control;              century U.S. history generally.

Americans’ ideological, institutional, and
material exchanges with other colonial                   This scholarship’s depth, richness, and
regimes; the deep legacies of Spanish colonial           sophistication make the field Daniel
history in shaping U.S. colonialism’s outlooks,          Immerwahr depicts in his 2016 essay “The

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Greater United States,” difficult to                   schoolhouse “logo map” that conventionally
recognize.2 Adapted from his SHAFR Bernath             defines the nation.
Lecture Prize address and published in
Diplomatic History, the piece is an odd                Every one of these arguments is problematic,
summons which calls upon U.S. historians to            but the article is nonetheless instructive: in just
pay attention—finally—to what the author               under twenty pages, it condenses, repackages,
depicts as the stillneglected history of U.S.          and celebrates nearly all the major flawed
overseas colonies. Immerwahr’s essay is worth          assumptions that have compromised the
highlighting as an example of modes of                 historiography of U.S. overseas colonialism
thinking about U.S. empire that, despite many          since its beginnings, even as it brands this
breakthroughs, stubbornly persistent.                  perspective a bold, original, forward-looking
                                                       conception of U.S. imperial historiography.
The article’s main lines of argument are as            Strangely, the essay’s principle interpretive
follows. The United States’ post-1898 “formal”         moves are precisely those which the best of the
colonies have not been adequately studied by           last decade’s scholarship have rejected. But
U.S. historians writing in “mainstream”                there may be something here for historians: a
settings, while historians of U.S. empire have         conversational, easy-to-digest model of exactly
long over-emphasized “informal empire” at the          how they should not write histories of U.S.
expense the United States’ “formal” empire.            overseas colonies, U.S. empire, or the United
These territories and the people who lived             States in the world.
there ought to be viewed as part of the
“domestic” history of the United States. In            In what follows, I will discuss the main
framing the colonies this way, historians should       problems with this piece and others, with an
follow the lead of early twentieth century             eye towards what historians might take away.
Americans, some of whom viewed them as part            Much of the critique that follows may be
of a cartographic imaginary of “Greater                obvious to the many scholars doing innovative
America.” Approaching post-1898 history in             work on the history of the United States in the
this manner reframes nineteenth-century                world. But the effort is worth making, among
continental expansion as part of a longer, more        other reasons, because Immerwahr’s article
global history of irregular “territory.” The           reflects problematic assumptions that have a
United States’ overseas “territories” should be        long history and remain in wide circulation.
seen as significant, to historians and others,         What follows, then, is offered in the hope that a
because if one adds up all the populations             discussion of this essay’s shortcomings,
governed by the United States in the                   common to many past and present-day histories
midtwentieth century—not only the island               of U.S. empire, might shed light on
colonies, but military bases and post-World War        questionable, long-standing, and prevalent
II occupation zones—they are impressive when           historical practices and, through this critique,
compared to both other modern global empires           point towards more generative modes of
and U.S. “domestic” society as conventionally          inquiry.
understood. While the “Greater United States”
experienced a striking expansion during and            The first problem is the conflation of U.S.
immediately after World War II, equally                colonialism with “empire.” Here Immerwahr’s
striking was the United States’                        essay rides a wave of faulty nomenclature and
“unprecedented” shedding of territory                  periodization that began with the opponents of
immediately afterwards. Embarking on the               U.S. overseas colonialism in the wake of 1898.
study of the “Greater United States” will enable       For many early twentieth-century critics of U.S.
historians to move beyond the traditional,             overseas colonialism—the selfdescribed “anti-

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imperialists”—the conquest and annexation of           American foreign relations than the
overseas colonies represented a great, tragic          lateVictorian critics, and often did so in
break-point, the time and place where an               distinctly structuralist, anti-nationalist, and
American “empire” began. Built to gather the           anti-exceptionalist ways. Later, the Wisconsin
movement’s multitudes—liberal Republicans,             School reframed U.S. history around a concept
white supremacist Democrats, labor activists,          of “informal empire” that, while rigid and in
Northern intellectuals—around a racialized,            some ways exceptionalist, gained critical and
nationalist jeremiad, this definition of empire        analytical power among other things from its
as limited to overseas territorial annexation          decisive break with early twentieth century
was and is notable for its strategic narrowness.       framings.
It wrote off indigenous dispossession, the
Mexican-American War, territorial annexation           Nevertheless, as the result of self-conscious
in North America, gunboat diplomacy in East            politics and terminological inertia, “empire”
Asia and Latin America, and navalist                   and “imperialism” continued to cleave tightest
competition, for example. “Imperialism” cast           to U.S. histories involving the Philippines,
the post-1898 colonialist surge as a reversible        Puerto Rico, Hawai‘i, Guam, Samoa, the Virgin
lapse, an exception that proved the rule of            Islands, and the Panama Canal Zone. Permitted
peaceful, commercialist, republican expansion          relatively free rein in this terrain, “empire”
across and beyond North American space.                remains contested elsewhere. Indeed, to a
                                                       significant degree, the uncomplicated presence
Rhetorically and conceptually, this reduction of       of “empire” in discussions of the post-1898 U.S.
U.S. empire to post-1898 overseas colonialism          colonies helped produce its necessary absence
proved a generous gift to those seeking to             elsewhere. (To be sure, this kind of selective
legitimate and depoliticize most expressions of        outrage is also a common feature of other
American global power in the twentieth                 historiographies: the especially brutal,
century. “Empire” was just a chapter in the            scandalized colonialism that normalizes the
textbook, a fleeting “moment” in U.S. history          other, quieter ones; the flagrantly exploitative
amid other moments. Shrinking U.S. empire to           capitalist who draws indignation away from
an island in history was helped along by the           more prosaic systems of exploitation, etc.)
fact that post-1898 U.S. colonialism involved
actual islands. Despite the intensifying,              This narrow definition of “empire” as territorial
asymmetrical impacts of U.S. metropole and             control is extremely common among influential
colony on each other, and the structural               historians working in a number of fields, and
necessity of overseas colonies to other projects       writing over many decades. On some occasions,
of U.S. global power, the post-1898 U.S.               this definition is presented openly, as when
colonies were and are separated off, the               Ernest May wrote in 1968, on the origins of
historical and ethical partitions built from           post-1898 colonialism, that his book “deals with
oceans.3                                               imperialism narrowly defined as direct
                                                       territorial acquisition....”6 In other cases, the
There were, importantly, formidable efforts to         definition is implicit in the kinds of intervention
challenge apologetic definitions of empire.            that are included and excluded from the
During the interwar period, pacifist, socialist,       category. In a 2009 essay that argues against
feminist, and Christian opponents of U.S. great-       the applicability of “empire” to nearly all
power politics, arms build-ups, and                    aspects of U.S. foreign policy, Jeremi Suri
militarycolonial interventionism in the                makes an exception for the post-1898 colonies.
Caribbean enlisted idioms of empire to make            “Beyond this band of islands in the Caribbean
critical sense of a far broader swath of               and Pacific where Washington acted as a

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colonial power,” he writes, “the term empire            dominance, neglected “the empire”—the
cannot capture the complexities of American             colonies—he is going to fill in the map.
influence in a wider global arena encompassing
China, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as          A second problem involves Immerwahr’s
other regions.” 7 In a recent, monumental               adoption of historical actors’ categories as his
interpretation of U.S. empire, A. G. Hopkins            own. Specifically, the essay argues
writes that “the United States ... had an empire        prescriptively that American historians ought
between 1898 and 1959,” its “insular empire,”           to see U.S.-governed spaces overseas as
but that after 1945, it “ceased to be an empire”        “domestic” to U.S. history because many
and was, rather, a “world power without having          Americans in the early twentieth century
territorial possessions.”8                              themselves represented these colonies as part
                                                        of a “Greater America.” 1 0 The essay’s
Despite the durable hold of this narrow                 discussion of this term’s usage and “Greater
definition of empire among some scholars, by            America” maps from the era is novel and
the early twenty-first century, the conditions of       compelling. It raises many questions, beyond
possibility for critical histories of U.S. global       the article’s scope, that are worth asking: Who
power that used empire for more subtle                  used this imagery, and who didn’t? In what
analytical purposes were emerging. The fading           venues did it circulate, and not circulate? Was
of nationalist-exceptionalist commitments               it publicly or privately debated or contested?
among historians of the United States in the            How important was it, given its rise and fall
world; the United States’ unbounded,                    between 1898 and 1917, and why exactly did it
unilateralist military engagements after 9/11;          disappear? And where did it come from in the
debates about the United States’                        first place? Strikingly, the essay neglects the
disproportionate consumption of ecological              obvious reference-point of “Greater Britain,” a
resources and contribution to global climate            gap that is remarkable given that it quotes a
catastrophe; and the conceptual impact of               primary source which compares “Greater
colonial and post-colonial criticism within U.S.        America” to “Greater Britain” explicitly.11
history and American Studies have, for more
and more scholars, made the need for a critical         While historians clearly need to know much
vocabulary—including a more agile language of           more about “Greater America” as an actor’s
empire but not hemmed in by it—entirely                 category, the argument that historians should
obvious.9                                               take their analytical cues from early twentieth
                                                        century Americans is ill-advised. Immerwahr is
But not here. Indeed, the territorial definition        quite explicit that the term “Greater America”
of empire Immerwahr’s essay offers would have           (from which he develops his “Greater United
been recognizable to most mid-twentieth                 States”) is a phrase he takes from the
century U.S. diplomatic historians and, further         “intellectually transformative” years following
back, to the anti-colonialists of 1898–1902.            the conquest of the remnants of Spain’s
Immerwahr’s essay is mostly typical in                  overseas empire. He nonetheless finds the
committing this misstep, even as the                    conception worth reviving. Immerwahr is not
interpretation arrives after significant                alone among historians in turning,
scholarship has moved past it. In revealing the         problematically, to historical actors’ framings
importance of the post-1898 overseas colonies           for his analysis. When circling around fraught
to U.S. history, Immerwahr is going to—at long          questions of U.S. empire, for example, U.S.
last—put “empire” back in U.S. history. Where           historians have for a long time, in effect, asked
the Wisconsin School, in foregrounding the              permission from the historical actors they
pursuit of American commercial and military             studied. The United States was not or did not

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possess “an empire,” they have argued,                  that many other scholars seek to interrupt.
because most Americans did not imagine or
talk about themselves or their country using            The contrast with robustly critical
the lexicon of empire. Similarly, for historians        historiographies, which insist on breaking with
on the other side of this (endless, fruitless)          the past’s dominant vocabularies in order to
debate, the U.S. can be said to have been or            properly historicize them, is striking. Take, for
had “an empire” because some Americans,                 example, gender and critical-race
especially between the late eighteenth century          historiography. Gender historians do not wait
and the Civil War, at the turn of the twentieth         for past patriarchs to use the language of
century, and in the wake of 9/11, employed this         “patriarchy” to figure out whether they actually
vocabulary affirmatively.12                             lived in male-dominated societies. While many
                                                        white supremacists in U.S. history did and do
This collapsing together of primary document            use “white supremacy” as a selfdesignation,
and analytical frame is characteristic of larger        historians of racism do not feel the need to
problems facing U.S. foreign relations history,         consult them about whether the term is within
a field still struggling—unevenly—to decolonize         bounds as they make sense of racializing
itself intellectually from the U.S. national-           institutions, practices, and ideologies. Many
security state and its modes of knowing and             past and present capitalists are skittish about
legitimating itself. Within this field and others       the term “capitalism” (with its ambivalent
like it, power systems in the past have                 connotations, some of them critical and/or
traditionally been allowed to provide many of           Marxist) and prefer more marketable
the key analytic terms with which they are              euphemisms; this does not mean that historians
understood historically. Take, for example,             do not get to study American capitalism. This
Suri’s discussion of why “empire” is of almost          strange permission-seeking around the
no analytical utility to U.S. foreign relations         vocabulary of empire indexes continuities
historians. Again and again, he relies upon             between Cold War and “war on terror”
historical actors’ self-descriptions and                ideologies, and historians’ willing and
statements of their intentions to determine the         unwitting complicity in them.
kinds of categories historians should and
should not use. He writes, for example, that            Immerwahr is right that historians could use an
early twentieth century foreign policy should           intellectual, cultural, and cartographic history
not be collapsed into the term “empire”                 of “Greater America.” But historians will only
because of “the significance and enduring               be able to learn what they need to about
influence of the anti-empire thinking about             “Greater America”—and numerous other
democracy and war that guided the American              terms—to the extent that they establish
state....” 13 In other words, what historical           analytical distance between past and present
actors (or, at least, certain historical actors)        worlds. To make sense of the concept and its
thought and said they were doing was, in fact,          inventors, scholars cannot, by definition,
what they were actually doing. Immerwahr’s              continue their work. To understand, in the
reliance on early twentieth century writers is          present case, “Greater America” as a rhetorical
somewhat different: rather than taking past             and visual salvo in a historically-specific
actors’ statements of their intentions as               struggle over the boundaries of the United
descriptions of historical reality, he takes his        States—spatial, juridical, representational,
analytical lead from inherited categories               racial— historians need to maintain an
without critically questioning them. But both           understanding of “inside” and “outside” that is
create and spin conceptual revolving doors              in self-conscious tension with actors’
between historical actor and historical analyst         definitions, and not derivative of them.

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A third problem is what can be called the                   simple majority?— Immerwahr tosses
sovereignty blender. Having begun with a                    population chunks into a kind of historical food
discussion of the post-1898 overseas U.S.                   processor. At one point, the whirring blades
colonies—“U.S. empire” as narrowly                          strike an enabling caveat—“To occupy a
defined—the essay swoops back to the origins                country temporarily is obviously different from
of North American continental expansion,                    annexing it”—but it does nothing to impede
reminding readers of the heterogeneity of U.S.              their progress. Sure enough, when you liquefy
political space from the nation’s founding. This            together every place the United States asserted
is a worthwhile note for any twentieth century              some kind of politico-military control in 1945
historians who might reify the “logo map”                   outside of the continental United States, it
United States. But the casual leap back to the              represents “51%” of the U.S. population as
earlier Euro-American conquest of North                     conventionally defined: the “Greater United
America, and later segue forward to the United              States” statistically revealed. All it has taken is
States’ late twentieth and early twenty first-              the flattening of a spectrum of sovereignties
century globally networked empire of bases,                 into a polarized dichotomy between irregular
involves a shell game: the homogenizing of                  territory and “normal” political space.15
radically different political spaces and modes of
empire-building into a multistage, overlapping              In turn, the artificial inflation of a “Greater
sequence of irregular “territory.” What glues               United States,” especially through the addition
Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, occupied Germany and                 of the occupations of Germany and Japan,
Japan, and Diego Garcia awkwardly together is               allows Immerwahr to paint a misleading
that they and other “territories” are made to               portrait of the post-World War II period, one
represent a unified exception to reified,                   that foregrounds a dramatic “shedding” of
“regular” U.S. space. Where the essay’s other               territory. This skewed emphasis turns the least
problems are common to much of the                          surprising dimension of post-World War II
scholarship on U.S. empire, this one is                     American power—that Germany and Japan
relatively distinct to this piece, at least as far as       were granted formal independence and that the
it includes the post-1945 era; a sweeping                   United States did not permanently take over
together of Western continental empire-                     additional territory on the scale of entire
building and post-1898 overseas colonial                    countries—into a major story. Given the clear
empire was common to an older scholarship on                priorities of postwar U.S. policymakers (global
American “expansionism” that used this                      access to markets, resources and military
expansive, nebulous category to stress                      bases, and dominance over alliance structures
continuities and similarities between U.S.                  and multilateral institutions), a crisis of
imperial projects across North America and                  European colonialism, and key American
beyond.14                                                   officials’ increasingly sharp sense of overseas
                                                            territorial control as retrograde, unnecessary
Attempting to prove the significance of these               and politically costly overhead, the fact that the
overseas “territories” for the United States,               United States did not hold onto or annex
Immerwahr adds up the population figures for                newlyoccupied areas after 1945 is not
all areas outside the continental United States             counterintuitive or in need of elaborate
that were under some kind of U.S. control in                explanation. Furthermore, the article’s
1945. The differences between these cases                   emphasis on the significance of post-World War
dissolve into the pleasingly fungible abstraction           II territorial handovers channels apologetic
of numbers and the amorphous, undefined                     narratives that date back to the mid-twentieth
category of “territory.” In the interest of                 century itself. How, for example, are readers to
building towards something—could it be a                    square Immerwahr’s claim that the United

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States “set the Philippines free” after World             writers, and activists in both the United States
War II with the 1946 Bell Trade Act, which                and its overseas colonies have subjected U.S.
required that the newly “independent”                     colonial empire to study—celebratory and
Philippines grant the United States preferential          condemnatory,              scholarly        and
tariffs and Americans “parity rights” in the              popular—beginning in 1898 itself. By the late
exploitation of Philippine natural resources; the         twentieth century, they were joined by
1947 Military Bases Agreement, which required             academic historians, as well as scholars located
the Philippines to allow the United States to             within Area Studies (Southeast Asian Studies
retain its bases in the islands and use them as           and Latin American Studies, in particular) and
“required by military necessity”; or the violent          American Studies, ethnic studies and cultural
suppression of Filipino radicals by U.S.-                 studies departments, many of whom used
                                16                                                        21
sponsored counterinsurgency?                              historically-informed methods.

The piece also does injustice to the intellectual         Then, of course, there was a burst of historical
labor of scholars studying U.S. colonies within           attention to post-1898 century U.S. colonialism
former and present-day U.S. colonies and the              during the “war on terror” and U.S. invasion of
U.S. metropole. 17 While the essay concedes               Iraq. Take, for example, the conference and
there are many histories of twentieth-century             edited volume organized by McCoy and
U.S. overseas colonies—indeed, an                         Scarano, which gathered together dozens of
“accelerating avalanche” of them— Immerwahr               scholars of the United States’ Caribbean,
argues that the colonies have not received                Pacific, and Southeast Asian colonies in wide-
sufficient attention in “mainstream”                      ranging explorations of the dynamics,
narratives. He asks, for example, why Puerto              variations, and multi-directional impacts of U.S.
Rican nationalist Pedro Albizu Campos is “not             rule between colony and metropole. 22 The
part of mainstream U.S. historiography?”19                anthology makes it into the essay’s footnotes,
What exactly is going on with Immerwahr’s use             but apparently does not clear the hurdle of the
of the term “mainstream,” with its unsubtle               “mainstream.” Can “we” say that overseas
marking of insider and outsider? Who is on the            colonies “drove key episodes in [U.S.] national
outside of “mainstream” history and why                   history,” Immerwahr asks, using the analogy of
doesn’t their scholarship really count? Here              African-American history: “Not yet.”23
the relevant historiography is limited to works
published in prestigious, U.S.- centered                  Strikingly, the denial of a significant historical
journals based in the United States, “our most            scholarship on U.S. empire is one recurrent
prominent historical journals.” Scans of the              feature of a decades-old historical scholarship
Journal of American History, Diplomatic                   on U.S. empire. As in Immerwahr’s essay, the
History, and the American Historical Review               usual move is not to deny outright that such a
for references to U.S. overseas colonies serve            scholarship exists (which becomes increasingly
as proxies for the state of the literature.20 These       challenging, but not impossible), but rather to
scans say nothing about these fields’ actual              bracket it wholesale as lacking some necessary
locations, but do say a great deal about what             feature which, once the decks are cleared in
nationalist maps of intellectual authority look           this way, the author will generously provide in
like.                                                     the interest of properly starting the
                                                          conversation. Writing on U.S. empire in the
More straightforwardly, Immerwahr’s claim                 Journal of American History in 2002, well into a
that U.S. overseas colonialism has long been              flourishing historical, American Studies and
inadequately studied is completely without                post-colonial literature on this topic, Ann Stoler
basis. Academics, policymakers, intellectuals,            noted that such a scholarship existed, even as

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she claimed in broad strokes that many U.S.           “enriched national history.” The point of U.S.
historians were behind the times, “still              historians reaching out into the world, in other
unfamiliar with the new currents in                   words, was a more cosmopolitan history of the
scholarship that have animated colonial studies       United States. Louis Perez powerfully identified
over the last fifteen years,” specifically            this as a “We are the World” sensibility. 27
scholarship like her own work centering on            Scholarship that widened historical frames
empire’s “intimacies.” 24 In other cases, the         might, as intended, challenge American
minimizations and erasures are more                   exceptionalism, but where this scholarship
ambitious. Hopkins writes—in a volume                 merely followed U.S. actors, discourses or
published this year—that books on U.S. colonial       institutions or asked U.S.-oriented questions on
empire are “few in number” and have “rarely           a broader geographic terrain, without opening
achieved popularity.” Studies of the war of           out onto or engaging with other sets of
1898 “rarely give it the importance it merits”;       inquiries, it might serve to advance
after 1898, “the insular empire disappears from       unacknowledged U.S. nationalist purposes. If
view” when it comes to treatment by historians.       going “global” simply meant enlarging U.S.
Like Immerwahr, he concedes that there is a           national histories, then U.S. historians could
“remarkable array of detailed studies of the          venture “abroad” without ever really leaving
islands that fell under U.S. rule,” but these         “home.” Immerwahr’s essay represents a
have “yet to be coordinated and made                  programmatic, annexationist version of this
accessible to a wider audience.” His own              larger nationalizing of historiographic stakes.
chapters on these themes, however, will
“attempt to resuscitate a subject that has been       What of Immerwahr’s specific criticism of the
left to wither from neglect.” 2 5 Doubtless           historiography: is it factually accurate to claim
versions of such sidelining can be found in           that the existing research under-addresses the
many (maybe all) fields of scholarship, but one       impacts that colonized spaces had on the
cannot help but wonder if historians who work         metropolitan United States? By this point,
on the topic of U.S. empire—which past actors         historians have powerfully shown colonial
have tried so hard to make vanish— are not            state-building to be a complex crucible of U.S.
themselves tempted to try and make the                state technologies, from policing and
scholarship on U.S. empire that came before           surveillance to public health, many of which
them vanish.                                          found their way from colony to metropole.
                                                      Political-economic historians have explored in
A final problem is Immerwahr’s assertion that         depth both the importation of commodities
histories of U.S. colonial empire matter              produced in overseas colonies to the U.S.
because of what they can tell U.S. historians         metropole and political battles over their
about U.S. history, as distinguished from the         status, battles that involve metropolitan
histories of colonized areas or those that            competitors and often charged, racialized
connect across national divides.26 This type of       debates about where the United States’
argument exemplifies what I will call                 boundaries did and should lay. Scholars
nationalist transnationalism. Like the essay’s        working across the disciplines have discussed
other problematic claims, this one is quite           the influence that colonial empirebuilding had
common among important historians. In                 on Americans’ popular culture and social
Thomas Bender’s influential framing of a              imaginaries, in genres ranging from children’s
transnationalized U.S. history from the early         books to expositions to motion pictures.
2000s, for example, he argued that the point of       Migration historians have reconstructed the
this innovation was not to “subvert the nation”       lives of colonial migrants in often hostile
through “postnational history” but, instead, an       metropolitan environments and the ways their

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presence prompted wide-ranging debates about            United States comes first. Readers are told that
their rights and duties vis-a-vis the United            Albizu joined the U.S. Army, “inspired by
States, as well as the broader boundaries of            Wilsonian rhetoric of self-determination.” (Did
U.S. citizenship and social membership to               anything in Puerto Rico’s decades of struggle
which this question was inseparably attached.           over the island’s relationships to Spain and the
An extensive scholarship on U.S. military               United States shape either his decision or his
basing is highly attuned to the ways that               read of Wilson?) We learn that his followers
overseas and metropolitan installations were            blew up U.S. government buildings. (Was there
wired together in terms of infrastructure,              any aspirational vision of Puerto Rican society
logistics, economics, and mobility. In brief, the       in play here, or just an animosity towards
claims that existing scholarship insufficiently         federal architecture?) Assessing Albizu’s
addresses the United States “proper” may                significance, Immerwahr could have quoted any
reflect what scholars choose to neglect or              of a number of accomplished scholars of Puerto
ignore, but bears no recognizable relationship          Rican society and politics, but he turns instead
to the state of the field.                              to J. Edgar Hoover, who declares him Puerto
                                                        Rican nationalism’s “guiding light.”29 The fact
Recent approaches have challenged nationalist           that Albizu has not yet been mentioned in the
transnationalism, arguing that a                        Journal of American History—regardless of
transnationalized U.S. history requires not only        where and how he has been studied in the vast
a wider geographic and archival scope and               universe of scholarship—is made a very big
post-exceptionalist commitments but a post-             deal. He has apparently not yet arrived, and it
nationalist sense of which questions to ask,            is not incumbent upon U.S. historians to learn
which concepts to employ and, ultimately, who           about him by reading the journals in which he
constitutes the community of inquiry itself.            has long been discussed. (Incidentally, while
From this point of view, the best histories of          Immerwahr’s essay stages a parade of
the United States in the world were likely to be        canonical Americans who anoint the overseas
generated by scholars positioned either                 colonies with significance through their
“outside” of U.S. history or in the rich                involvement—Theodore Roosevelt, William
interstices between the United States and the           Howard Taft, John J. Pershing, George C.
rest of the world. By the mid-2010s, this sense         Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D.
of the field’s aspirations had become                   Eisenhower, etc.—Albizu Campos is the only
widespread, even if its actual implementation           person from the overseas colonies who goes
remained a work in progress. By stark contrast,         named.)
this essay offers an analytically flimsy We are
the World approach, and a cautionary example            So Albizu and the resistance movement he
of what can happen when historians practicing           stands in for are legible and significant only to
nationalist transnationalism build walls.               the extent that they reflect the glare cast by a
                                                        narrow Americanist spotlight. Albizu matters,
To close, let’s return to Immerwahr’s account           in other words, because the likes of J. Edgar
of Pedro Albizu Campos. At first glance, his            Hoover had something to say about him; he
choice to begin the essay with a Puerto Rican           commands “our” attention as historians when
nationalist seems to suggest that he takes              he or his followers explode something
Puerto Rican history, culture, and agency               “American.” Searching for a palpable symbol of
seriously. But how exactly are readers                  U.S. overseas colonialism’s enduring legacies,
introduced to this decisive Puerto Rican figure?        Immerwahr does not turn to poverty,
Immerwahr’s approach illustrates a common               unemployment, and inequality on the island,
pattern of selective memory in which the                born of U.S. colonial policy and American-led

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corporate and agricultural concentration. He             it in fresh and striking ways. This work
does not tell readers about the ongoing mass             continues into our own time with unparalleled
exodus of economically-displaced Puerto Ricans           vigor and creativity. This essay concludes with
to the mainland United States. He provides               a bibliographic appendix of dissertations and
instead a bullet hole Puerto Rican nationalists          published books completed since 2007 dealing
left in a desk in Washington, DC.                        with U.S. colonialism in the Philippines and
                                                         Puerto Rico; similar bibliographies can be
Ultimately, Immerwahr’s essay may prove most             compiled for other sites of U.S. empire. There
educational as a primary document, a telling             are many more such works on the way.
artifact of the very histories it purports to
describe, reflecting deep historical currents of         BIBLIOGRAPHIC APPENDIX:
nationalist arrogance and short-sightedness.
Yes, these lands are already peopled, and those          This appendix includes published books and
people may have their own maps, but the                  dissertations relating to U.S. colonialism in the
inhabitants only count once they are marked              Philippines and Puerto Rico, published or
down on the “mainstream” charts. These                   completed since 2007. These dissertations are
regions seem strange at first, but they will soon        among those catalogued in the database
be populated by faces readers will recognize,            Proquest: Dissertations and Theses Global,
who will do away with place names they might             which claims “comprehensive historic and
otherwise have to learn. To the limited extent           ongoing coverage” for North American works,
that these locales have histories that matter,           and limited but “significant and growing
those histories exist—like their land, their             international coverage.” This database does not
people, the inhabitants’ labor and the resources         yet contain history dissertations written at the
they produce—to serve “our” needs. To                    University of the Philippines. While extensive,
historians of empire—U.S. and otherwise—this             this bibliography is not intended to be
is all too familiar territory.                           exhaustive; among other things, it does not
                                                         include myriad article-length pieces published
Hopefully, the interpretive problems surveyed            in peer-reviewed historical journals or edited
here, brought together and exemplified in                volumes during these years.
Immerwahr’s article, will not slow, halt, or
redirect the momentum of exciting, ongoing               Books dealing with U.S. colonialism and the
research into U.S. colonial and military empire,         Philippines include: Alfred W. McCoy, Policing
or broader inquiries into the United States’             America’s Empire: The United States, the
imperial histories in which they play a central          Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance
role. Scholars, writers and historians based             State (Madison, WI, 2009); David Brody,
inside and outside the contemporary                      Visualizing American Empire: Orientalism and
boundaries of the United States have discussed           Imperialism in the Philippines (Chicago, IL,
and debated how to make sense of the U.S.                2010); Rick Baldoz, The Third Asiatic Invasion:
imperial past and present for over a century. At         Migration and Empire in Filipino America,
their best, they have slipped their moments’             1898–1946 (New York, 2011); Denise Cruz,
mystifications and euphemisms and drawn from             Transpacific Femininities: The Making of the
their eras’ critical vocabularies, employing             Modern Filipina (Durham, NC, 2012); Cheryl
analyses of economic inequality, state violence,         Beredo, Import of the Archive: U.S. Colonial
ecological destruction, and racialized,                  Rule in the Philippines and the Making of
gendered and sexual difference, for example, in          American Archival History (Sacramento, CA,
ways that have not only pointed to the fact of           2013); Michael C. Hawkins, Making Moros:
U.S. empire, but historicized and problematized          Imperial Historicism and American Military

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Rule in the Philippines’ Muslim South (De Kalb,          and Yoshiko Nagano, eds., The Philippines and
IL, 2013); Mark Rice, Dean Worcester’s                   Japan in America’s Shadow (Singapore, 2011);
Fantasy Islands: Photography, Film, and the              Bonnie M. Miller, From Liberation to Conquest:
Colonial Philippines (Ann Arbor, MI, 2014);              The Visual and Popular Cultures of the Spanish-
Christopher J. Einolf, America in the                    American War of 1898 (Amherst, MA, 2011);
Philippines, 1899–1902: The First Torture                Michael Patrick Cullinane, Liberty and
Scandal (New York, 2014); Yoshiko Nagano,                American Anti-Imperialism (New York, 2012);
State and Finance in the Philippines,                    Fabian Hilfrich, Debating American
1898–1941: The Mismanagement of an                       Exceptionalism: Empire and Democracy in the
American Colony (Singapore, 2015); Victor                Wake of the Spanish-American War (New York,
Roman Mendoza, Metroimperial Intimacies:                 2012); Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine,
Fantasy, Racial-Sexual Governance, and the               Arc of Empire: America’s Wars in Asia from the
Philippines in U.S. Imperialism, 1899–1913               Philippines to Vietnam (Chapel Hill, NC, 2012);
(Durham, NC, 2015); Lou Antolihao, Playing               Vernadette Vicuna Gonzalez, ~ Securing
with the Big Boys: Basketball, American                  Paradise: Tourism and Militarism in Hawai‘i
Imperialism, and Subaltern Discourse in the              and the Philippines (Durham, NC, 2013);
Philippines (Lincoln, NE, 2015); Leia Castaneda          JoAnna Poblete, Islanders in the Empire:
~ Anastacio, The Foundations of the Modern               Filipino and Puerto Rican Laborers in Hawai‘i
Philippine State: Imperial Rule and American             (Urbana, IL, 2014); Katrin Dauenhauer, The
Constitutional Tradition in the Philippine               Shadow of Torture: Debating U.S.
Islands, 1898–1935 (Cambridge, UK, 2016);                Transgressions in Military Interventions,
Gerald R. Gems, Sport and the American                   1899–2008 (Frankfurt, GER, 2015).
Occupation of the Philippines: Bats, Balls, and
Bayonets (Lanham, MD, 2016); Rebecca Tinio               Dissertations on U.S. colonialism in the
McKenna, American Imperial Pastoral: The                 Philippines include the following, divided into
Architecture of U.S. Colonialism in the                  thematic sub-categories: For new perspectives
Philippines (Chicago, IL, 2017); Nicholas                on the Philippine-American War and the politics
Trajano Molnar, American Mestizos, the                   of U.S. colonial violence in the early twentieth
Philippines, and the Malleability of Race,               century: Erin Leigh Murphy, “Anti-Imperialism
1898–1961 (Columbia, MO, 2017).                          during the Philippine-American War: Protesting
                                                         ‘Criminal Aggression’ and ‘Benevolent
Books dealing with the U.S. colonialism in the           Assimilation’” (PhD diss., University of Illinois
Philippines comparatively, as part of                    at Urbana-Champaign, 2009); James Heberton
geographically wider histories, or within works          Berkey, “Imperial Correspondence: Soldiers,
also dealing with the Spanish-Cuban-American             Writing, and the Imperial Quotidian during the
War, include: Julian Go, American Empire and             Spanish-American and Philippine-American
the Politics of Meaning: Elite Political Cultures        Wars” (PhD diss., Indiana University, 2010);
in the Philippines and Puerto Rico during U.S.           Cynthia L. Marasigan, “‘Between the Devil and
Colonialism (Durham, NC, 2008); Alfred W.                the Deep Sea’: Ambivalence, Violence, and
McCoy and Francisco A. Scarano, eds., Colonial           African American Soldiers in the Philippine-
Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern             American War and Its Aftermath” (PhD diss.,
American State (Madison, WI, 2009); Anne L.              University of Michigan, 2010); Dawn Anne
Foster, Projections of Power: The United States          Ottevaere, “The Cost is Sworn to Women:
and Europe in Colonial Southeast Asia, 1919–             Gender, Resistance, and Counterinsurgency
1941 (Durham, NC, 2010); Susan K. Harris,                during the Philippine-American War,
God’s Arbiters: Americans and the Philippines,           1898–1902” (PhD diss., Michigan State
1898–1902 (New York, 2011); Kiichi Fujiwara              University, 2010); Rowena Quinto Bailon,

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“Battling Destiny: Soldiers’ Letters and the             Manoa, 2011). On intersections of sex and
Anti-Colonial Discourse in the Philippine-               racialized power in the American colonial
American War” (PhD diss., University of Texas            Philippines and Philippine-American culture,
at Dallas, 2014). On U.S. colonial rule in the           see Victor Roman Reyes Mendoza, “The Erotics
Southern Philippines, see Michael C. Hawkins,            of ‘White Love’; or Queering Philippine-U.S.
“Imperial Historicism and American Military              Imperial Relations” (PhD diss., University of
Rule in the Philippines’ Muslim South” (PhD              California at Berkeley, 2007); Nicholas Trajano
diss., Northern Illinois University, 2009); Omar         Molnar, “The Fluidity of Race: Racializations of
H. Dphrepaulezz, “‘The Right Sort of White               the American Mestizos in the Philippines and
Men’: General Leonard Wood and the U.S.                  the United States, 1900–1956” (PhD diss.,
Army in the Southern Philippines, 1898–1906”             Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 2012);
(PhD diss., University of Connecticut, 2013);            Marie Therese Winkelmann, “Dangerous
Oliver     Charbonneau,         “Civilizational          Intercourse: Race, Gender and Interracial
Imperatives: American Colonial Culture in the            Relations in the American Colonial Philippines,
Islamic Philippines, 1899–1942” (PhD diss.,              1898–1945” (PhD diss., University of Illinois at
University of Western Ontario, 2016). On U.S.            Urbana-Champaign, 2015). On Filipina
colonial education in the Philippines, see Sarah         negotiations of gendered and racialized
Steinbock-Pratt, “‘A Great Army of Instruction’:         hierarchies, see Genevieve A. Clutario, “The
American Teachers and the Negotiation of                 Appearance of Filipina Nationalism: Body,
Empire in the Philippines” (PhD diss.,                   Nation, Empire” (PhD diss., University of
University of Texas at Austin, 2013); Funie Hsu,         Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014). On the
“Colonial Articulations: English Instruction and         role of civil society organizations in the
the ‘Benevolence’ of U.S. Overseas Expansion             American colonial Philippines, see Stefanie S.
in the Philippines, 1898–1916” (PhD diss.,               Bator, “Toward Filipino Self-Rule: American
University of California at Berkeley, 2013);             Reform Organizations and American
Adrianne Marie Francisco, “From Subjects to              Colonialism in the Philippines, 1898– 1946”
Citizens: American Colonial Education and                (PhD diss., Northwestern University, 2012). On
Philippine NationMaking, 1900–1934” (PhD                 Philippine-American colonial capitalism, see
diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2015).        Allan E. Lumba, “Monetary Authorities: Market
On the legal history of U.S. colonial rule in the        Knowledge and Imperial Government in the
Philippines, see Anna Leah Fidelis Tesoro                Colonial Philippines, 1892–1942” (PhD diss.,
Castaneda, “Creating ‘Exceptional’ Empire:               University of Washington, 2013). On
American Liberal ~ Constitutionalism and the             agriculture, forestry, and the natural world, see
Construction of the Constitutional Order of the          Theresa Marie Ventura, “American Empire,
Philippine Islands, 1898–1935” (PhD diss.,               Agrarian Reform, and the Problem of Tropical
Harvard Law School, 2009); Maria Elena Pablo             Nature in the Philippines, 1898–1916” (PhD
Rivera-Beckstrom, “Pragmatic Nationalism and             diss., Columbia University, 2009); Nathan E.
Legal Culture: The Impact of American                    Roberts, “U.S. Forestry in the Philippines:
Colonialism on Philippine Constitutional                 Environment, Nationhood, and Empire,
Politics (1934–1947)” (PhD diss., New School,            1900–1937” (PhD diss., University of
2011); Clara Altman, “Courtroom Colonialism:             Washington, 2014). On space, architecture, and
Philippine Law and U.S. Rule, 1898–1935” (PhD            urban design, see Rebecca Tinio McKenna,
diss., Brandeis University, 2014). On U.S.               “American Imperial Pastoral: The Baguio
colonial archive-keeping, see Bernadette Cheryl          Scheme and United States Designs on the
Beredo, “Import of the Archive: American                 Philippines, 1898–1921” (PhD diss., Yale
Colonial Bureaucracy in the Philippines,                 University, 2010); Diana Jean Sandoval
1898–1916” (PhD diss., University of Hawai‘i at          Martinez, “Concrete Colonialism: Architecture,

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Infrastructure, Urbanism and the American               States of America” (PhD diss., University of
Colonization of the Philippines” (PhD diss.,            Florida, 2011); Mark Sanchez, “Resistance
Columbia University, 2017). On questions of             from Afar: Opposition to the Marcos Regime
Filipino legal status and the lived experiences         from the United States, 1981–1983” (PhD diss.,
of U.S. “nationals,” see Veta R. Schlimgen,             California State University, Fullerton, 2012).
“Neither Citizens nor Aliens: Filipino ‘American        On the Philippine-American Cold War and
Nationals’ in the U.S. Empire, 1900–1946”               military basing, see Daniel A. Borses,
(PhD, University of Oregon, 2010); Proceso              “Constructing a Filipino American Cold War
James Paligutan, “American Dream Deferred:              Social Imaginary, 1945– 1965” (PhD diss.,
Filipino Nationals in the U.S. Navy and Coast           University of California, Irvine, 2011); Colleen
Guard, 1947–1970” (PhD diss., University of             P. Woods, “Bombs, Bureaucrats, and Rosary
California, Irvine, 2012). On inter-imperial            Beads: The United States, the Philippines, and
exchanges between the U.S.-ruled Philippines            the Making of Global Anti-Communism,
and other colonial regimes, see Christopher             1945–1960” (PhD diss., University of Michigan,
Allen Morrison, “A World of Empires: United             2012).
States Rule in the Philippines, 1898–1913”
(PhD diss., Georgetown University, 2009);               Dissertations dealing extensively U.S.
Gregg French, “The Foundations of Empire                colonialism in the Philippines alongside other
Building: Spain’s Legacy and the American               cases, or Filipino-Americans alongside other
Imperial Identity, 1776–1921,” (PhD diss.,              AsianAmericans, include: Kathryn Alexandra
University of Western Ontario, 2017). On U.S.           Rogers, “‘Noble-Hearted Ladies’: Women’s
colonial public health and food politics in the         Response to the Spanish-American and
Philippines, see Jose Emmanuel Raymundo,                Philippine-American Wars, 1898–1905” (PhD
“The Political Culture of Leprosy in the U.S.           diss., University of New Brunswick [Canada],
Occupied Philippines, 1902–1941” (PhD diss.,            2008); Denise Khor, “Asian Americans at the
Yale University, 2008); Michael Allen Seager,           Movies: Race, Labor, and Immigration in the
“Placing Civilization: Progressive Colonialism          Transpacific West, 1900– 1945” (PhD diss.,
in Health and Education from America to the             University of California, San Diego, 2008);
Philippines, 1899–1920” (PhD diss., University          Katherine D. Moran, “The Devotion of Others:
of California, Riverside, 2009); Rene Alexander         Secular American Attractions to Catholicism,
Disini Orquiza, Jr., “Food, Class, and the              1870–1930” (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins
American Imperial Experience in the                     University, 2009); Karine V. Walther, “‘A Door
Philippines, 1898–1946” (PhD diss., Johns               in the Mohammedan World’: Islam and U.S.
Hopkins University, 2012). On colonial rule in          Foreign Policy, 1821–1913” (PhD diss.,
the Philippines and U.S. “domestic” politics,           Columbia University, 2009); Karen E. Phoenix,
see Norberto Barreto, “Imperial Thoughts: The           “‘Not by Might, Nor by Power, but by Spirit’:
U.S. Congress and the Philippine Questions,             The Global Reform Efforts of the Young
1898–1934” (PhD diss., State University of New          Women’s Christian Association of the United
York at Stony Brook, 2007); Adam David Burns,           States, 1895–1939” (PhD diss., University of
“Imperial Vision: William Howard Taft and the           Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010); Carlos
Philippines, 1900–1921” (PhD diss., University          Figueroa, “Pragmatic Quakerism in U.S.
of Edinburgh, 2010). On long-distance Filipino-         Imperialism: The Lake Mohonk Conference, the
American activism between the U.S. and the              Philippines and Puerto Rico in American
Philippines, see Ma. Marissa Lelu P. Gata, “A           Political Thought and Policy Development,
Filipino Transnational Advocacy Network: A              1898–1917” (PhD diss., New School, 2010);
Case Study of the U.S. Bases Cleanup                    John Andrew Byers, “The Sexual Economy of
Campaign in the Philippines and the United              War: Regulation of Sexuality and the U.S.

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Army, 1898–1940” (PhD diss., Duke University,           Trujillo-Pagan, Modern Colonization by Medical
2012); Simeon Man, “Conscripts of Empire:               Intervention: U.S. Medicine in Puerto Rico
Race and Soldiering in the Decolonizing                 (Leiden, 2013); Solsiree del Moral, Negotiating
Pacific” (PhD diss., Yale University, 2012);            Empire: The Cultural Politics of Schools in
Maria Paz Gutierrez Esguerra, “Interracial              Puerto Rico, 1898–1952 (Madison, WI, 2013);
Romances of American Empire: Migration,                 Eileen J. Suarez Findlay, We are Left without a
Marriage, and Law in TwentiethCentury                   Father Here: Masculinity, Domesticity, and
California” (PhD diss., University of Michigan,         Migration in Postwar Puerto Rico (Durham, NC,
2013); Stephanie Hinnershitz, “‘One Raw                 2014); Jorge Rodrıguez Beruff and Jose L.
Material in the Racial Laboratory’: Chinese,            Bolıvar Fresneda, eds., Island at War: Puerto
Filipino, and Japanese Students and West Coast          Rico in the Crucible of the Second World War
Civil Rights, 1915–1968” (PhD diss., University         (Jackson, MS, 2015); Jose Amador, Medicine
of Maryland, College Park, 2013); Justin F.             and Nation Building in the Americas,
Jackson, “The Work of Empire: The U.S. Army             1890–1940 (Nashville, TN, 2015); Isar P.
and the Making of American Colonialisms in              Godreau, Scripts of Blackness: Race, Cultural
Cuba and the Philippines, 1898–1913” (PhD               Nationalism, and U.S. Colonialism in the Puerto
diss., Columbia University, 2014); Autumn               Rico (Urbana, IL, 2015); Teresita A. Levy,
Hope McGrath, “‘An Army of Working-Men’:                Puerto Ricans in the Empire: Tobacco Growers
Military Labor and the Construction of                  of U.S. Colonialism (New Brunswick, NJ, 2015);
American Empire, 1865–1915” (PhD diss.,                 April Merleaux, Sugar and Civilization:
University of Pennsylvania, 2016).                      American Empire and the Cultural Politics of
                                                        Sweetness (Chapel Hill, NC, 2015); Antonio
Books dealing with U.S. colonialism and Puerto          Sotomayor, The Sovereign Colony: Olympic
Rico include: Cesar J. Ayala and Rafael                 Sport, National Identity, and International
Bernabe, Puerto Rico in the American Century:           Politics in Puerto Rico (Lincoln, NE, 2016);
A History Since 1898 (Chapel Hill, NC, 2007);           Carlos AlamoPastrana, Seams of Empire: Race
Ismael Garcıa-Colon, Land Reform in Puerto              and Radicalism in Puerto Rico and the United
Rico: Modernizing the Colonial State,                   States (Gainesville, FL, 2016).
1941–1969 (Jacksonville, FL, 2009); Lorrin
Thomas, Puerto Rican Citizen: History and               Dissertations dealing with U.S. colonialism and
Political Identity in Twentieth-Century New             Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico alongside other
York City (Chicago, IL, 2010); Dionicio Nodın           regions, include: On questions of Puerto Rico
Valdes, Organized Agriculture and the Labor             political and legal status and the lived
Movement before the UFW: Puerto Rico,                   experiences of U.S. “nationals,” see Robert C.
Hawai‘i, California (Austin, TX, 2011); Cesar J.        McGreevey, “Borderline Citizens: Puerto
Ayala and Jose L. Bolıvar, Battleship Vieques:          Ricans and the Politics of Migration, Race, and
Puerto Rico from World War II to the Korean             Empire, 1898–1948” (PhD diss., Brandeis
War (Princeton, NJ, 2011); Manuel R.                    University, 2008); Samuel C. Erman, “Puerto
Rodrıguez, A New Deal for the Tropics: Puerto           Rico and the Promise of United States
Rico During the Depression Era, 1932–1935               Citizenship: Struggles around Status in a New
(Princeton, NJ, 2011); Ileana Rodrıguez-Silva,          Empire, 1898–1917” (PhD diss., University of
Silencing Race: Disentangling Blackness,                Michigan, 2010). On U.S. colonial public health
Colonialism, and National Identities in Puerto          in Puerto Rico, see Jose G. Amador,
Rico (New York, 2012); Kirwin R. Shaffer, Black         “‘Redeeming the Tropics’: Public Health and
Flag         Boricuas:           Anarchism,             National Identity in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and
Antiauthoritarianism, and the Left in Puerto            Brazil, 1890–1940” (PhD diss., University of
Rico, 1897–1921 (Urbana, IL, 2013); Nicole              Michigan, 2008); Winifred C. Connerton, “Have

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