Power and Pantaloons: The Case of Lee Boo and the Normalizing of the Student

  • David W. Kupferman
Part of the Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education book series (COPT, volume 5)


Standing at the entrance to Palau Community College is a statue of Lee Boo, the son of the chief of Koror who was sent to England in 1783 as part of an exchange between Palauans and English sailors who had shipwrecked earlier on a nearby island. Dressed as the ideal Enlightenment scholar, the Lee Boo statue and the historical narrative that has developed around him serve as both a figuration of the normalization of western schooling in Palau and other parts of Micronesia as well as a productive simulacrum. This chapter conducts a visual and discursive “reading” of the Lee Boo statue in order to consider the ways in which a particular power-knowledge circuit operates through technologies of school, in this case through the construction and normalization of the subjectivity of the student in the islands. Employing Derrida’s analysis of Aristotle’s heliotrope, the chapter also discusses the various methods through which processes of colonization and contemporary economic and political development discourses circulate through the intersection of culture, nationalism, and formal schooling in the region.


Formal Schooling Full Moon Discursive Practice Public Service Announcement Coconut Tree 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David W. Kupferman
    • 1
  1. 1.Education DepartmentCollege of the Marshall IslandsMajuroRepublic of the Marshall Islands

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