Global Humanities Junior Research and Teaching Stay at Freie Universitaet Berlin
Islands of Labor: Community and Resistance in Colonial Samoa, 1889-1919
His book manuscript, Islands of Labor: Community and Resistance in Colonial Samoa, 1889-1919, focuses on a central issue in a central location: labor relations in colonial Samoa. Each of the five chapters zooms in on an important workscape: the subsistence economy, the copra plantation, the ethnographic show, the building of infrastructure, and the colonial service. His interdisciplinary research draws on a wide range of sources—from oral histories and court depositions to photographs and maps—to reconstruct the experiences of Samoans as well as migrants from other Pacific islands and China. These workers, he argues, actively resisted the demands of Euro-American colonial officials and planters by transcending racial boundaries and creating new forms of community.
Holger Droessler is a College Fellow in U.S. History at Harvard University and a Lecturer in History at Tufts University. Before earning a Ph.D. in American Studies at Harvard University (2015), he studied American history and political science at the University of Munich. His research centers on the global history of the nineteenth century, especially U.S. and European imperialism in the Pacific. In his book manuscript, Islands of Labor: Community and Resistance in Colonial Samoa, 1889-1919, he explores the crucial role of workers in the making of empire in the South Pacific.