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Provost's Imagine Fund for Arts and Humanities

Cosmopolitanism, Syncretism, and Nationalism: Politics, Religion, and Society in the Pacific

This Imagine Grant would fund research and conference travel to support two research projects: 1) Completing a project on the interplay of nationalist movements in Hawaiʻi, Italy, and the Pearl River Delta of China. This piece demonstrates the paradoxical cosmopolitanism of nationalism in the period by tracing the movement of political nationalisms: the way a Native Hawaiian nationalist studying in Italy grafted Garibaldian nationalist ideas onto existing Native Hawaiian notions of sovereignty, and the way that Chinese anti-Manchu nationalism and Hawaiian resistance to American colonialism influenced each other in surprising ways. Native Hawaiian, European, and Chinese ideas about nationalism combined in unanticipated ways that shaped the end of imperial China and today’s Native Hawaiian sovereignty movement. 2) A new study of Native Hawaiian engagements with Catholicism in the nineteenth century which demonstrates the way that syncretism made it possible to imagine Christianity as both universalistic and particularly appropriate to Hawaiians.

Both of these projects trace movement and transformation of political and religious ideas and practices. I draw on sources in four languages (Hawaiian, Chinese, French, and English) to trace this story. This grant would pay for me to present my work at the conferences of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the Western History Association, and the American Society for Church History, and provide partial support for a research trip to Honolulu.

The project will produce three conference papers and two articles I will submit to major journals (the Journal of World History and American Historical Review).

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Twin Cities