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Current Projects

JoAnne Poblete


WIHR Research Presentation: Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. in Classroom 209

"Balancing the Gap: Contested Protocols of U.S.. Federal Development Programs in American Sāmoa"

Abstract: This talk will discuss the impact of post-World War II U.S.. economic and social development programs in the unincorporated territory of American Sāmoa. Annually, the U.S.. government provides over $200 million in federal grants for a multitude of initiatives. Through an examination of local fisheries in the region, controversies over the expansion of the national marine sanctuary, and numerous social service programs, Poblete will highlight the various strategies and outcomes for projects funded by the U.S.. federal government and implemented in the unique space of American Sāmoa that is geographically small (76-square miles), regionally isolated (2,607 miles from the next U.S.. airport), and low in population and skilled resources (57,844 residents with access only to one community college). This work examines the tensions or gaps that arise between federal regulations/administration and local indigenous social customs.

Common Subjectivities: American Sāmoan and Pacific Islander Labor Migrant Experiences under U.S. rule, 1900 to the present

Funded Projects, February 2014

Researcher: JoAnne Poblete
Department: History

Through research and oral histories in American Sāmoa, this project investigates the history of imperialism that native people and migrants to the region experienced through U.S.. rule. With major U.S.. government subsides, American Sāmoa produced more than 80% of the world’s tuna by the end of the twentieth century. Such success relied on the labor of immigrants from Independent Sāmoa, the Philippines, and Tonga. In addition to providing the first comprehensive history of inter-Asian Pacific relations in American Sāmoa, this research analyzes the past to understand changes in the Pacific and foster conversations for a more humane and civil society in the region. Many Pacific Islands face similar conflicts of indigenous versus settler rights, where native sovereignty is seen as oppositional to immigrant struggles. My project provides a new perspective to this divisive binary. With knowledge of common subjectivities, native groups and immigrants could develop coalitions across this caustic divide.

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