Cooling the Tropics: Ice, Indigeneity, and Hawaiian Refreshment

Regular price $ 26.95

by Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart

Duke University Press

12/16/2022, paperback

SKU: 9781478019190


Beginning in the mid-1800s, Americans hauled frozen pond water, then glacial ice, and then ice machines to Hawaiʻi--all in an effort to reshape the islands in the service of Western pleasure and profit. Marketed as "essential" for white occupants of the nineteenth-century Pacific, ice quickly permeated the foodscape through advancements in freezing and refrigeration technologies. In Cooling the Tropics Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart charts the social history of ice in Hawaiʻi to show how the interlinked concepts of freshness and refreshment mark colonial relationships to the tropics. From chilled drinks and sweets to machinery, she shows how ice and refrigeration underpinned settler colonial ideas about race, environment, and the senses. By outlining how ice shaped Hawaiʻi's food system in accordance with racial and environmental imaginaries, Hobart demonstrates that thermal technologies can--and must--be attended to in struggles for food sovereignty and political self-determination in Hawaiʻi and beyond.


"In this remarkable book, Hi'ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart looks to the deep, and not so deep, histories of ice and coldness in Hawai'i to provide theoretical and ethnographic insight into the relationships between settler colonialism, American imperialism, the environment, racism, bodies, aesthetics, taste, and Kanaka Maoli sovereignty. It is a beautifully written, genre-bending contribution that is one of the only truly transdisciplinary books I have ever read." -- Paige West, Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College and Columbia University

"By showing how cold drinks and foods were a way for white American settlers to make Hawai'i feel more like home and to further emphasize how uncivilized Native Hawaiians were for not understanding ice and using it correctly, Hi'ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart demonstrates that the management of climate and taste is a significant mode of power that settler colonialism operates through. This outstanding, compelling, and important book will make a significant impact on our understandings of Hawaiian history and settler colonialism writ large."--Maile Arvin, author of Possessing Polynesians: The Science of Settler Colonial Whiteness in Hawai'i and Oceania

About the Author:

Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart is Assistant Professor of Native and Indigenous Studies at Yale University and editor of The Foodways of Hawaiʻi: Past and Present.