Anthropology Masters Theses

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    Divine sustenance : Krishna Prasadam in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
    ([Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2011], 2011-08) Berger, Nicole Catherine
    This thesis is an ethnographic study of the role of prasadam--sanctified food that has been ritually offered to the god Krishna--among the Honolulu branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), popularly known as the Hare Krishnas. Taking prasadam as the starting point, this thesis broadens from an examination of the meaning-laden exchange and consumption of prasadam to the social, spiritual, and political dimensions of prasadam distribution and production. It traces the connections facilitated by prasadam both within and outside of Honolulu's ISKCON community, with a particular focus on the utopian image of self-sustaining farm communities in ISKCON ideology. The thesis contextualizes these issues within the framework of the politics of food, farming and land in Hawaiʻi, illustrating the way in which Honolulu's ISKCON community is located in the particular context of Honolulu, and the ways in this branch of a transnational religious organization is made local.
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    Vessels of kastom : canoes and canoe builders of Lamen Island
    ([Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2012], 2012-08) Van Allen, Joel B.
    This work is divided into three chapters, each addressing the various perspectives that inevitably converge in the construction of kastom and canoes on Lamen Island. Chapter 1 tackles the nature of construction itself from a philosophical and metaphysical vantage point that can metaphorically address the inherent paradox created by kastom as a discursive practice; furthermore, it follows the construction of kastom through its ontological development from mind to mouth to materiality--a process referred to in subsequent chapters as materialization. Chapter 2 moves beyond notions of construction to examine the various ways in which aspects of local identity are reconstructed in relation to kastom. The analysis expands outward from the somatic metaphors central to Lamen Island canoe construction, to the gendered roles and motifs that, both literally and figuratively, ensure a canoe's structural integrity. Subsequent sections move the analysis from metaphor and motif outward again, into the cultural and social processes of sanctification that allow the tradition of canoe building to survive, with the final two sections of the chapter expanding further still to examine how sanctification works within the context of kastom as both indigenous science and modern magic, using two very different canoes as examples of shared historical entanglements and practices of international resource harvesting. Chapter 3, above all, catalogues the technical and material construction of a Lamen Island canoe, detailing the entire process from initial tree selection to the canoe's maiden voyage. Throughout the construction, aspects of Chapters 1 and 2 are encountered and considered; however, the perspective shifts to that of my own as a foreign researcher, enlisting a more reflexive accounting of my relationship to both the project and the people participating in it, and forcing considerations of my own role in articulating kastom. Finally, Chapter 4 concludes the work by revisiting the "continuing dialectic" between Lamen Island and the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, including the role of its indigenous fieldworkers, my role as a foreign researcher, and the Centre's greater role in representing both national solidarity and kastom to the international community. I suggest a solution for bridging the liminal gap between centralized and idealized representations of kastom and the peripheral performance of kastom as practical, everyday life.
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    Explaining Maya monumental architecture
    ([Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2012], 2012-05) Sack, Nancy
    The task of archaeologists is to infer the cultural processes at work in the (often distant) past, based on an examination of the artifactual, biological, and environmental evidence of human civilizations that remains today. Ancient monuments, like other cultural constructions, can reveal clues about the societies that created them, provided researchers ask suitable questions and devise appropriate strategies for discovering the answers. Initial archaeological surveys of monumental buildings are typically designed to answer "what" types of questions: investigators describe, measure, and map the structures they uncover. The next generation of research generally deals with "how" questions, for example, how were monuments built? How long did it take to construct them? How much labor was required? How did the buildings function? Eventually, archaeologists begin to explore the more difficult "why" questions. Why did ancient societies begin to construct monuments? Why did monumental construction persist, in some cases for hundreds of years? Finally, why did monument building decline and disappear?
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    Purse seine and eurydice : a history of leprosy and coercion in Hawaiʻi
    ([Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2012], 2012-12) Ritter, David James
    In 1865, the Hawaiʻi Board of Health adopted quarantine as the primary means to arrest the spread of leprosy in the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. In Practice, preventing infection entailed the dramatic expansion of medical authority during the 19th century and included the establishment of state surveillance networks, the condemnation by physicians of a number of Hawaiian practices thought to spread disease, and the forced internment of mainly culturally Hawaiian individuals. As such, efforts to eradicate leprosy came to overlap with a broader imperial program of social control. Now a tourism destination, however, the history of leprosy presented at Kalaupapa is a didactic morality tale that focuses on the life of Saint Damien de Veuster, who died during his mission work there. As such, leprosy is reinvented as an issue of personal morality that silences both the coercive function of the colony and the voices of those interred in the past.
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    Reviewing the kilns and stoneware ceramics of Angkor
    ([Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014], 2014-05) Wong, Charmaine
    This study reviews selected literature on Angkorian stoneware ceramics and kilns within the present day borders of Cambodia. Despite the relative youth of Angkorian ceramic and kiln research, this field of study has grown exponentially in the last decade as more kiln and ceramic sites have been found and excavated. As research is conducted at the various sites, new information is produced and interesting avenues of research have been pursued. The purpose of this thesis is to summarize previous research on Angkorian stoneware ceramics, and discuss key debates, issues, and future research paths.
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    The evolution of social hierarchy in Leeward Kohala, island of Hawaiʻi : an evolutionary ecological approach
    ([Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014], 2014-05) DiNapoli, Robert John
    Among the prehistoric island societies of Polynesia, those of the Hawaiian Islands have long been singled out as a locus for the evolution of complex hierarchical polities (e.g., Johnson and Earle 2000; Kirch 1984; Sahlins 1958; Service 1971). At the time of European contact in 1778, Hawaiian society was divided into two distinct social ranks: a small hereditary elite and a large class of commoners (Ii 1959; Kamakau 1991; Malo 1987). This stratified social organization was characterized by marked differences between commoners and elites, especially in terms of elite control over land and resources. This hierarchical social organization was further differentiated within the elite class, with several ranks of chiefs (ali'i), priests (kahuna), and land-managers (konohiki). Hawaiian social hierarchy was also mirrored in their tiered territorial land division (ahupua'a) system and ritual architecture (heiau). In this way, Hawaiʻi is distinct among ancient Polynesian societies (Kirch 2010; Hommon 2013). The existence of this hierarchical social organization begs an important evolutionary question: why would such a large proportion of a social group accept such a marked lower status position in society? For prehistoric Hawaiʻi, this specifically translates into questions surrounding what led to the evolution of multiple ranks of ali'i, the existence of the konohiki land-managers, and why such a large group of people, the maka ̔āinana (commoners), would accept their subordinate role in society. Research on Hawaiian social organization has tended to emphasize the coercive powers of chiefs in bringing about social change (e.g., Earle 1997; Hommon 2013; Kirch 2010b). However, while not often appreciated in Hawaiian archaeology, such social hierarchies always involve a complicated interplay of both coercion, competition, and cooperation (Boone 1992; Bourke 2011). Because the level of social hierarchy seen in prehistoric Hawaiʻi was unique in Polynesia, this leads us to ask--what environmental circumstances and evolutionary mechanisms led to the emergence of cooperative hierarchical groups in ancient Hawaiʻi? Exploring answers to this question is the topic of this thesis.
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    Mutual intelligibility between certain Polynesian speech communities
    ([Honolulu], 1962) Ward, Jack H.
    This paper looks at groups of speakers of one language that exhibit variations in speech from region to region or between social levels. When these variations serve to reduce intelligibility one may say that two dialects of a language are thereby revealed. As these differences become still more numerous and crucial across time and space, intelligibility is more and more limited until such a small degree of communication takes place that it can be said that for all practical purposes the speakers are using different languages. Mutual intelligibility is examined between groups.
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    Acculturation of Samoans in the Mormon village of Laie, Territory of Hawaii
    ([Honolulu], 1956) Pierce, Bernard Francis
    Acculturation of Samoans in Laie. This study is concerned with Samoans living in the community of Laie on the Island of Oahu, and with their adjustment to the culture of that cosmopolitan community.
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    Melanesian masks in the Bishop Museum
    ( 1961) Kaeppler, Adrienne L, 1935
    This paper looks at masks in the context of the society which produced it. Photographs and descriptions of ceremonial masks from the Papuan Gulf, New Ireland, New Britain, New Caledonia and New Hebrides on display at the Bishop Museum are examined.
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    Maori women in traditional family and tribal life
    ([Honolulu], 1966) Heuer, Berys N. Rose
    This thesis endeavors to reconstruct the role of women in traditional family and tribal life by collating and analyzing the many references scattered throughout the ethnographic literature. As it follows the aims of recent monographs, one by Biggs focusing upon marriage, and a second by Vayda, upon warfare, in traditional culture, it will incorporate relevant data from these, particularly in regard to marriage. The period to which this thesis refers extends from 1769, when Captain James Cook rediscovered the islands, to approximately 1840, when New Zealand formally became a British colony.