Scholars Work On Anti-Colonial Travel Guidebook To Hawaii

Surfers ride waves off Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, with Diamond Head mountain in the background on Nov. 4, 2014.
Surfers ride waves off Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, with Diamond Head mountain in the background on Nov. 4, 2014. AP Photo/Marco Garcia
Surfers ride waves off Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, with Diamond Head mountain in the background on Nov. 4, 2014.
Surfers ride waves off Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, with Diamond Head mountain in the background on Nov. 4, 2014. AP Photo/Marco Garcia

Scholars Work On Anti-Colonial Travel Guidebook To Hawaii

Tourist guidebook publishing is one industry that managed to avoid becoming obsolete in the digital age. Many of us still use those old shiny paperbacks for visiting a new country or city. While folks still prefer Yelp or TripAdvisor to pick hotels and restaurants, guidebooks are still crucial to mapping a place’s history.

But what happens when a guidebook leads you into colonialist apologetics?

Vernadette Gonzalez and Hokulani K. Aikau are historians at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. They’ve noticed that guidebooks, while maintaining the tourist economy of a region, also tell stories from the perspective of a conqueror. They’ve set off to write Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawaii . The book engages tourism through a critical, equitable lens. Their proposal states “ Detours offers alternative itineraries and ways of ‘visiting’ the islands as well as concrete examples of how we can move from metaphors of decolonization to material practices and everyday acts of resistance that bring about real change in the lives of everyday people.”

Gonzalez will present her decolonial guidebook ideas at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois on February 20th and 22nd, respectively.