Composition I

Writing Local

“Kanaka Maoli (real people) and ʻŌiwi (of the bones) do not mean the same as “Hawaiian,” which is falsely expanded in colonial discourse to include anything or anyone “of Hawaiʻi” (i.e., the addition of pineapple, a cash crop introduced in 1900 that benefited settlers and disenfranchised Kanaka Maoli from land and culture, to a pizza does not make it Hawaiian” pizza). Similarly, “Hawaiian literature” (often referred to in Hawaiʻi as “Local” literature) is not the same as moʻolelo Hawaiʻi (a general category for literature written by Kanaka Maoli).”

– Kuʻualoha Hoʻomanawanui, Voices of Fire: Reweaving the Literary Lei of Pele and Hiʻiaka

The theme of this class is the writing and discussion of local identity in all its forms, including individual identity, community identity, collective memory, and the body and the senses.

We will engage with written texts, film, and performance in a variety of media, looking for insight into what it means to be local, and for entry points into the conversation, practice, and discourse of college essay writing. Readings will include selections by: ku’ualoha ho’omanawanui, Lisa Linn Kanae, Lyz Soto, and Kent Sakoda.

Questions to Consider: What does it mean to be local in the context of Hawaiʻi? How might the idea of local be related to Hawaiian language, Pidgin (Hawaiʻi Creole English), and other languages spoken here? How might it be related to Native Hawaiian history, moʻolelo, and literature, and to Pidgin literature and talking story? What can we learn from belonging to, or not belonging to, communities connected with these languages and traditions?

We all interact with the world through the body and through the senses – taste, touch, smell, sound, sight. How do the senses influence our communities, including food culture, decorative arts, and other community traditions?

How do we write as individuals who live in bodies marked for categories such as race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, dis/ability, and socioeconomic class? What does it mean to write when we have been marked as “other” in terms of one or more of these categories? How do we understand and construct our own identities within the framework of multiple categories of belonging and non-belonging, including membership in language-based communities?


  • Weekly Blog Posts (300 words) 10 points
  • Text Analysis (3 pages / 500 – 700 words) 10 points
  • Film Analysis (3 pages / 500 – 700 words) 10 points
  • Source Analysis (4 pages / 700 – 1000 words) 10 points
  • Local Topic Paper (4 pages / 1000 words) 10 points
  • Personal Narrative (3 pages / 700 words) 10 points
  • Revision 10 points
  • Peer Review/ Workshops 10 points
  • Participation 20 points