Sacred Men

9781478005032: Hardback
Release Date: 22nd November 2019

9781478006343: Paperback
Release Date: 22nd November 2019

20 illustrations

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 312

Series Global and Insurgent Legalities

Duke University Press Books

Sacred Men

Law, Torture, and Retribution in Guam

Keith L. Camacho examines the U.S. Navy's war crimes tribunal in Guam between 1944 and 1949 which tried members of Guam's indigenous Chamorro community and Japanese nationals and its role in shaping contemporary domestic and international laws regarding combatants, jurisdiction, and property.
Hardback / £90.00
Paperback / £22.99

Between 1944 and 1949 the United States Navy held a war crimes tribunal that tried Japanese nationals and members of Guam's indigenous Chamorro population who had worked for Japan's military government. In Sacred Men Keith L. Camacho traces the tribunal's legacy and its role in shaping contemporary domestic and international laws regarding combatants, jurisdiction, and property. Drawing on Giorgio Agamben's notions of bare life and Chamorro concepts of retribution, Camacho demonstrates how the U.S. tribunal used and justified the imprisonment, torture, murder, and exiling of accused Japanese and Chamorro war criminals in order to institute a new American political order. This U.S. disciplinary logic in Guam, Camacho argues, continues to directly inform the ideology used to justify the Guantánamo Bay detention center, the torture and enhanced interrogation of enemy combatants, and the American carceral state.

Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction  1
Part I. The State of Exception
1. War Bodies  29
2. War Crimes  60
Part II. The Bird and the Lizard
3. Native Assailants  89
4. Native Murderers  116
Part III. The Military Colony
5. Japanese Traitors  149
6. Japanese Militarists  181
Conclusion  215
Notes  225
Bibliography  269
Index  283

Keith L. Camacho is Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, author of Cultures of Commemoration: The Politics of War, Memory, and History in the Mariana Islands, and coeditor of Militarized Currents: Toward a Decolonized Future in Asia and the Pacific.

Sacred Men is a truly singular work of immense importance. It is original, compelling, and fiercely thought-provoking. Through a theoretical engagement with the Chamorro, Rotanese, and Saipanese indigenous epistemologies, Keith L. Camacho has brought the discussion of U.S. empire, law, sovereignty, militarism, and the working of carceral power to an entirely new horizon in ways no other scholar has done. A pathbreaking, field-shifting intervention.”

Lisa Yoneyama, author of
Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War Crimes

“Exceedingly engaging, theoretically accomplished, and incisively researched, Sacred Men unravels the 1944 U.S. military tribunal in Guam, which included the prosecution and torture of Chamorro indigenes. Employing Agamben's homo sacer, Keith L. Camacho provides a razor-sharp analysis of the tribunal as a very real ‘bare life’ event but also as a metaphor for the murder, torture, and foreclosure of political life that has occurred throughout the colonies as ‘states of exception.’”

Brendan Hokowhitu, coeditor of
The Fourth Eye: Maori Media in Aotearoa New Zealand