Mākou na hope o ka ʻĀina (We Stand Firmly behind the Land): Kanaka Maoli
(Native Hawaiian) Literature, Memory, and Place
this course, we will examine Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) relationship to
place, and how this connection is documented, celebrated and expressed through
the palapala—written literature.
We will examine how Hawaiian literature formed,
and how it has changed over time, beginning with an overview of oral tradition
by examining traditional literary genres of poetry (through chant, song, and
genealogy), story (oral and written) and dance (choreographed poetry, or poetry
in motion), such as wahi pana(celebrated
places) and koʻihonua (genealogies for the land). We will look at specific texts, like the
Kumulipo (Hawaiian chant of creation) which form the basis of major themes that
resonate throughout Hawaiian literature from the past to the present, like
aloha ʻāina (love for the land).
Next we will turn towards the early period of
colonization, with the introduction of literacy and the emergence of a Hawaiian
national press. We will study how
Hawaiian literary art forms developed during this period, examining such themes
as pono (justice), kuleana (responsibility and consequences), mālama ʻāina
(importance of caring for the land), and aloha no nā aliʻi (cherishing of the
We will then explore contemporary Kanaka Maoli
literature from the twentieth century to the present, examining how colonialism
and other social, political and cultural changes have influenced and shaped
Kanaka Maoli literature and relationship to place, and how it is reflected in
this literature as well, through novels, drama, and poetry.
No prior knowledge of Hawaiian language or
culture is required, although students with such backgrounds are encouraged to
utilize their skills and knowledge throughout the course in class discussions,
course papers, and other assignments.
REQUIREMENTS: Attendance, class
participation through regular in-class discussions, Laulima discussion board
and blog posts, possible fieldtrips, an oral (group) presentation on an
assigned text chosen in consultation with the professor. You will write several
formal papers, including a wahi pana (place) research project. Library research
required. You will “experience art” by
attending at least one literary, cultural, or community event during the
semester, and write a reaction/review of that experience. Finally, there will be regular quizzes, a
mid-term and a final exam. The exams
will be mixed format, may include essay questions, and are not cumulative.