HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 54 no. 1 (2008)

The Cebuano Plantation Workers of Hawaii in the Early 20th Century, and the Politics of Representation

Erlinda Kintanar-alburo

Discipline: History, Political Science



There were two competing discourses in representing the plantation life of the Visayan workers of Hawaii during the first half of the 20th century; the positive view as represented by a 1930 laborer's manual commissioned by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association, and the negative view as derived from the fiction and articles in the popular pre-war Cebuano periodical Bag-ong Kusog. Against these printed texts, interviews conducted in 1988 by the researcher have shown how gender and ethnicity informed the realities of plantation life as reconstructed in the narratives of the surviving laborers and/or their children in the islands of Oahu and Kauai.