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Ikuko Asaka, PhD
University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
The Evolution of US Imperial Engagements with Overseas Islands, from the Antebellum Era to Spanish-American War

Research for a book about United States policy and practice on the use of overseas resources during the nineteenth century.

This book project seeks to demonstrate how the United States pursued extraction of natural and human resources off of foreign islands in East Asia, the Caribbean, and South Pacific, through annexation, unequal treaties, and surveys, in the decades before the Spanish American War. Scholars have long illuminated the ways in which the United States has exploited insular land, labor, and raw materials in the forms of military bases and nuclear testing grounds as well as commercial waystations. Throughout this literature, the 1898-99 acquisition of island colonies precipitated by the Spanish American War marks the beginning of the United States’ systematic exploitation of overseas islands. By contrast, my project traces the origins of such insular imperialism back to the antebellum era and charts how US insular engagements evolved over time up to 1898-99, with an attention to the changing historical contexts that informed policy decisions.

Project fields:
American Studies; Diplomatic History; U.S. History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/15/2021 – 8/14/2021