Mary Mitchell, Assistant Professor, Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto
This chapter from my in-progress book manuscript explores the centrality of Islanders' racialized difference to US plans for invasion, occupation, and long-term rule over a vast part of Indigenous Oceania. In 1942, the United States developed long-range plans to invade and occupy archipelagos that had been colonized by Japan since 1914 as an international dependency. Many distinct, linguistically and culturally diverse Native communities called places in the Marshall, Caroline, Palau, and Mariana Islands their ancestral homes. The chapter establishes how Navy efforts to modernize the United States' offshore colonialism merged international law with expertise from the human and social sciences in the creation and operation of a novel, culturalist form of indirect rule. Tracing the entwined interplay between whiteness and Indigeneity, the chapter shows how constellations of race inflected changing US practices of taking possession of offshore Native places. The chapter argues that the US Navy worked to incorporate Islanders' racialized difference, and, eventually, Islanders themselves, into the war machine--part of a new "technic of conducting military government" intended to project US power offshore in new and troubling ways.