20th Century Hawaiian Literature

In 1826, the formalization of the Hawaiian-language
alphabet marked the beginning of literacy in Hawaii. The Kingdom of Hawaii
quickly embraced reading and writing, and within a handful of decades, it had
achieved one of the highest literacy rates in the world. It is clear that the
advent of the written word had a huge effect on the Hawaiian culture and
people; however, scholars are divided on whether this effect was detrimental,
signaling assimilation and the loss of the oral tradition, or beneficial,
demonstrating cultural adaptability and opening up new avenues and audiences
for Hawaiian expression. In this class, we will explore Hawaiian literary works
translated or written in the 20th century and up to the present and
ask ourselves how well Hawaiians were/are able to “translate” their culture
onto the page. We will focus on themes that include the effects of linguistic
and cultural translation, Hawaiian resistance and insistence in the face of
foreign encroachment, and the often-forgotten history of Hawaiian

Requirements: Class 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 two formal essays (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

Readings: The tentative list of texts we will
be reading, available from Native Books, includes Kamau by Alani Apio, The
True Story of Kaluaikoolau written by Kahikina Kelekona and
translated by Frances Frazier, Murder
Casts a Shadow by Victoria Kneubuhl, Written in the Sky by Matthew Kaopio, A Legendary Tradition of Kamapuaa translated
by Lilikala Kameeleihiwa, Hoihoi Hou
edited by Rodney Morales, BETWEEN THE DEEP BLUE SEA AND ME by Lurline
McGregor, various articles translated from the Hawaiian-language newspapers,
excerpts from Ka Moolelo o Kamehameha I,
Ka Moolelo o Hiiakaikapoliopele,
and various other short stories and poems by Hawaiian authors.