Science Fiction Film & Television

Productive narratologies of convergent sf

Bumpy Kanahele’s utopic genre modalities of Hollywood film and television

Science Fiction Film & Television (2020), 13, (3), 405–426.

Abstract

This article examines how a Native Hawaiian activist’s inventive self-representational tactics, deployed within corporate mass media, have enriched North American pop-culture discourses on the Kanaka Maoli independence movement. Analysis focuses on the convergent (that is, transmedial or purposefully cross-medial) self-representational efforts of Dennis ‘Bumpy’ Pu‘uhonua Kanahele, who rose to fame as one of several notable organisers in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement during the 1990s. Several film and television texts became targets of Kanahele’s indigenous media interventions into commercial cinematic genre storytelling across different narrative platforms beginning in the 2010s. Applying a utopian reading that brings out Kanahele’s Indigenous Futurist interventions, this article offers readings of the theatrical feature film Aloha (2015) and a 2017 episode of Hawaii Five-o. Both texts visually focalise Pu‘uhonua o Waimānalo, the land base of Kanahele’s sovereignty movement known as the Nation of Hawai‘i, which gets positioned within these narratives as a Kanaka Maoli utopia providing refuge for indigenous Hawaiians away from the predation of both rampant capitalism and Western empire.

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Yoshinaga, Ida