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Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Transpacific American Studies$
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Yuan Shu, Otto Heim, and Kendall Johnson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455775

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455775.001.0001

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The Open Ocean for Interimperial Collaboration

The Open Ocean for Interimperial Collaboration

Scientists’ Networks across and in the Pacific Ocean in the 1920s

(p.149) 7 The Open Ocean for Interimperial Collaboration
Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Transpacific American Studies

Tomoko Akami

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines the Pacific Ocean as a transnational space from the perspective of the US as a new maritime empire in the region, and proposes an alternative analytical perspective for this analysis, interimperialism, to three currently dominant ones; imperialism versus nationalism; a vertical analysis of an empire; and power conflicts among the empires. The chapter focuses on experts at the two institutions, namely, the Institute of Pacific Relations and the Pan Pacific Science Congress, in the 1920s, and examines the nature of their Pan Pacific visions, a Pacific version of Pan Americanism. It argues that these experts saw the ocean as an open space that connected the people in and across the Pacific and pursued interimperial cooperative schemes, not as a space divided into closed seas where various polities competed for territorial control. Their interimperial schemes had two distinct characteristics; first, they framed their objectives in the rhetoric of a shared “imperial civilizing mission.” which satisfied moral guilt of the metropolitan elite, but still reinforced their empires’ superior position over the colonized. Second, Pan Pacific schemes ensured interimperial cooperation of managing the ocean space, rather than a conflict.

Keywords:   Interimperialism, Pan Pacific Movement, The Pacific Ocean, The Pan Pacific Science Congress, The League of Nations

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