of Hawai‘i in Auto/Biography
Description: There has been a long history of Hawai‘i and its
residents being described and defined by outsiders, oftentimes contributing to
problematic historical accounts or inaccurate stereotypes. In this course, then,
we will be reading auto/biographies by or about people from Hawai‘i in order to
get a general sense of both the history and everyday life of Hawai‘i’s people
over the last two centuries. We are going to explore issues of life writing
such as identity, representation and adaptation, and the political uses of
biography. We are also going to pay attention the wide range of forms and
genres that these stories take, such as books, mele, poems, oral histories,
online projects, historical fiction, documentaries, etc.
participation in in-class discussions and Laulima postings, reading quizzes, an
oral presentation on a text or theme discussed in class, and a panel
presentation of a text/author/issue. You
will also be asked to write three short formal essays (3–4 pages in length) and
a longer essay (6–8 pages in length).
You will also need to attend a community event related to the themes of
the class. Lastly, there will be a
mid-term and a non-cumulative final.
tentative list of texts for the class, mainly available from Revolution Books,
includes selections from Ka Moolelo o
Kamehameha Iby Hooulumahiehie, The
True Story of Kaluaikoolau written by Kahikina Kelekona and translated by
Frances Frazier, Hawaii’s Story by
Hawaii’s Queen by Liliuokalani, Israel
Kamakawiwoole’s Facing Future by Dan Kois, selected articles on life
writing, oral histories from Talking
Hawaii’s Story and other collections, video interviews from the Moolelo
Aloha Aina website, various mele and poems, and films such as the documentaries
Biography Hawaii: Princess Ruth
Keelikolani, Lia: The Legacy of a Hawaiian Man, and the feature film Princess Kaiulani.