This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's key themes. This book deals with the connections between representations and rule in the U.S. imperial archipelago—that is, island territories under U.S. military and political dominion after 1898, namely, Cuba, Guam, Hawaii, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. It argues that representations were historically connected to the concrete and specific forms of rule. They were not entirely accidental nor arbitrary nor indeterminate, but rather “causal” in a historical sense. That is, variations in representations explain why rule was organized in certain particular ways and not others. Rather than the methodological postulate of indetermination, this book will show that discourses were strategic textual deployments in response to particular local situations, which in turn shaped discursive practices.
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