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Empire in Waves – A Political History of Surfing - California Scholarship Online
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Empire in Waves: A Political History of Surfing

Scott Laderman


Surfing today invokes many things: thundering waves, warm beaches, bikinis, lifeguards, and carefree pleasure. But is the story of surfing really as simple as popular culture suggests? From American empire-building in the Pacific to the surf industry’s reliance on sweatshop labor, Empire in Waves argues that the modern history of surfing is intimately tied to the global developments since the nineteenth century. Surfing was used as an imperial instrument in post-annexation Hawaii. It spawned a form of tourism that conquered the littoral third world. Surfing was even embraced as a diplomatic we ... More

Keywords: surfing, surf culture, tourism, empire, paradise, cultural diplomacy, Indonesia, South Africa, Hawaii

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780520279100
Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520279100.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Scott Laderman, author
University of Minnesota