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Vernadette Gonzalez

Vernadette Gonzalez

Vernadette Gonzalez

PhD University of Calif-Berkeley

American Empire
Tourism & Militarism
Gender & Sexuality
Ethnic & Cultural Studies




Vernadette Gonzalez finished her PhD in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. Prior to that, she earned her BA in English Literature with certificates in African American Studies and Theater and Dance from Princeton University in 1996. Her areas of specialization include studies of tourism and militarism, transnational cultural studies, feminist theory, postcolonial studies, Asian American cultural and literary studies, and globalization studies with a focus on Asia and the Pacific. She is currently serving as the Undergraduate Chair for the department and teaches core undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as topics courses on American Empire, transnationalism and globalization, and U.S. women’s history.

Her book, Securing Paradise: Tourism and Militarism in Hawai‘i and the Philippines (Duke UP, 2013) examines the modern military and touristic ideologies, cultures, and technologies of mobility and surveillance in the Philippines and Hawai‘i. It illustrates how the roots and routes of the US military are foundational to tourist itineraries, as well as how modern tourism is central to the mission of unilateral American militarism. This project interrogates the seeming contradictions between the promise of modernity, mobility, capital and development held out by tourism and militarism, and the necessary economic and social asymmetries that enable touristic and militaristic dependence in the postcolonial geographies of Asia and the Pacific.

Her published work can be found in several collections, including Transnational Crossroads (U. Nebraska, 2012); Militarized Currents (U. Minnesota Press, 2010); Alien Encounters: Asian Americans in Popular Culture (Duke UP, 2007) and AsianAmerica.Net (Routledge, 2004), as well as in journals such as The Global South (2009); Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies (Summer 2007).

She is currently at work on several research projects. The first is a fleshly and intimate genealogy of imperial geopolitics and desire through the life story of Isabel Rosario Cooper, a mixed-race vaudeville and film actress who was an erstwhile mistress of General Douglas as well as a Hollywood aspirant. The second is a genealogy of empire, gendered labor and hospitality in Hawai‘i, mapped out through material culture such as quilts, lei, and other souvenirs. She is also hoping to launch a collaborative digital oral history mapping of the anti-eviction movement in 1970s Hawai‘i.