If mapping is often a colonial enterprise by which nations, scholars and
artists have made territorial claims, then we will use a cultural studies
approach to unmap the multiply layered narratives through which land in Hawai‘i
is represented.  We will consider the
colonial implications of these mappings as well as the ways that Kanaka ʻŌiwi
oral maps and contemporary anticolonial mapping projects envision a more
sustainable future for Hawai‘i.  We will
be using the essays in An Atlas of
Radical Cartography
to help us to understand imaginative ways of charting
political transformation as well as some of the problematic assumptions of
mapmaking.  As we examine geographical,
literary and thematic maps that show us how land is wrapped in relations of
power, we will foreground the materiality of land and the people it sustains,
both often obscured in maps.

We will begin with Hi‘iakaikapoliopele’s epic travels through the
islands, mapping for us the significance of the stories and land features of
each place and the relationships Kanaka ‘Ōiwi continue to have with these
places.  We will then consider the ways
that other groups in Hawai‘i map the urban spaces of social relations between
different groups.  Contemporary literary
texts by Linmark and Gajelonia provide different kinds of “local” maps of urban
spaces.  We will also be reading texts by
Andrade that provide more complex views of the multiple layers to any map, from
mo‘olelo of land to the political changes that have taken place in Kanaka ʻŌiwi
and settler laws governing land use.

We will then turn to two particular land struggles in Hawai‘i, focusing
in particular on Mauna a Wākea and the Poliʻahu moʻolelo and Lualualei and the
Māui moʻolelo.  We will consider the
different maps generated in the proposal to build the Thirty-Meter Telescope,
an eighteen-story observatory on the sacred lands of Mauna a Wākea and the
proposal to build a light industrial park in Lualualei, the birthplace of
Māui.  We will be examining rhetorical
representations and maps of land in environmental impact statements, and we
will contrast those representations with the ways that those who seek to
protect sacred land use moʻolelo to draw their own maps to support the people
who are sustained by these agricultural lands and sacred cultural sites.

The last third of the class will be spent on a collaborative class
research project on mapping sites in Hawai‘i. 
Students will select their own sites and will coordinate research on
mapping projects that highlight the historical value of places and the
political controversies that have emerged from them.


Texts (available at Revolution Books, 2626 S. King Street, between Puck’s Alley
and 7-11)

  • Ho‘oulumāhiehie,
    trans. Puakea Nogelmeier, The Epic Tale
  • Elspeth P.
    Sterling and Catherine C. Summers, Sites
    of Oahu
  • Carlos Andrade, Ha‘ena: Through the Eyes of the Ancestors
  • Gizelle
    Gajelonia, Thirteen Ways of Looking at
  • R. Zamora
    Linmark, Rolling the R’s
  • Eric Chock,
    Darrell Lum, James Harstad, Bill Teter, Growing
    Up Local
  • Avery Gordon, et al., An Atlas of Radical


A course reader
will be available at Professional Image
(2633 South King Street, near Kōkua Market).

Course Requirements

  • 15-20 page research project (50%)
  • Five-page project proposal with annotated
    bibliography that will grow into the research project (15%)

  • One presentation (15%)
  • Response assignments (15%)
  • Peer-editing (5%)