Abstract

This article examines the elements of theatrical and political spectacle surrounding the tour of the US Fleet to the Pacific and Japan in 1908, its melodramatic afterlife in the 1909 season of the New York Hippodrome, and the performances in the civic spaces of New York City by the production's Māori extras. Arguing that these touristic and theatrical spectacles were constitutive of an emergent globalist and Imperialist regional imaginary, the "American Pacific," it examines the geopolitical underpinnings to this cultural formation, its racial politics, the global and globalizing revolution in the entertainment industry that was a crucial component of it, and its aesthetic economies of virtualization. The article takes issues with the theoretical optic of Orientalism and the postmodern understanding of spectacle, and forwards an alternative model of spectacle as inauguration. This model accounts for spectacle's centrality to the cultures of circulation that produce global systems and recognizes its nature as a multivocal, unstable, porous medium of political and social formation that is responsive to dissenting or local agendas and utopic imaginaries.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-332X
Print ISSN
0192-2882
Pages
pp. 355-382
Launched on MUSE
2005-10-13
Open Access
No
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