Literatures of Hawai’i

             In this course, we will be reading literatures written by a broad range of writers who focus on the importance of the languages, cultures, and knowledges that shape and are shaped by Hawai‘i as a place.  We will first examine the ways that Kanaka ‘Ōiwi writers like Queen Lili‘uokalani trace their genealogies back to the kulāiwi, the ancestral lands, mapping through mo‘olelo, stories and histories, the literary and cultural significance of places that are a part of our daily lives.  We start with the story of the overthrow to understand the political history of Hawaiʻi and its ongoing significance in the contemporary Hawaiian independence movement.  Later, many other narratives emerged from efforts in the 1970s to define a “local” identity in community struggles to protect leased agricultural lands slated for commercial and urban development.  Visual texts of local solidarity in newspapers show people linking their arms in a human blockade across Kamehameha Highway in front of the Waiāhole Poi Factory in protest against the police-enforced eviction of farmers.  Throughout the course, we will sketch the literary, historical and political contexts that map our knowledge and reading of land and places in Hawai‘i.  We will discuss the complexities of local communities, such as the impact of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Japanese in Hawaiʻi, the survival strategies of a young local Filipino boy growing up gay and working-class in Kalihi, and the sexual trafficking of Korean women to the local bar system on Ke‘eaumoku Street that is the transnational legacy of Japanese and U.S. militarism in Korea.  We will conclude by following in the footsteps of Keaomelemele as she travels around the islands, mapping the stories and ʻŌiwi knowledges of different places in Hawai‘i.  Through the knowledge we gain from mapping these stories of places in Hawai‘i that continue to exist or are being restored, we will work toward envisioning a decolonial and more sustainable future for Hawai‘i.

            This course has a Hawaiian and Asian or Pacific Issues (H) Focus designation.  Hawaiian and Asian issues are fully integrated into the main course material and will constitute at least 2/3 of the course content.

 Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) include an awareness of the contributions of the literatures of Hawaiʻi to the formation of the contemporary field of English Studies, including such subfields as twentieth-century American literature, indigenous literature, ethnic literatures, rhetoric, genre studies and cultural studies, written and oral ability to situate the study of these literatures within broader critical and historical conversations.

Requirements: Two four-page papers, a midterm, a final exam, attendance and participation.

 Required Texts (available UH Bookstore)

1. Queen Lili‘uokalani, Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen (1898)

2. Growing Up Local: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose from Hawaiʻi  (1998)

3. Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, Wright, Hussey, eds.,  A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land, and Sovereignty (2015)

4. R. Zamora Linmark, Rolling the R’s (1995)

5. Nora Okja Keller, Fox Girl (2002)

6. Moses Manu, Keaomelemele, translated by Mary Kawena Pukui (out-of-print)

I will be posting material on the Laulima website: