Honors Projects for American Studies

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • Item
    Saving the Hawaiian Race: Pedagogies and Settler Colonial Possession at the Kamehameha School for Boys, 1888-1913
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2020) Noa, Jacob ; McDougall, Brandy Nālani ; American Studies
    The Kamehameha Schools (KS), established in 1887 through the last will and testament of Bernice Pauahi, was founded as a school for those with Hawaiian ancestry, but was ultimately configured to align with settler colonial interests of Hawaiʻi’s haole elite. Drawing from Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua’s analyses of domestication and “tender violence” at the Kamehameha Schools, this project aims to further theorize the function of the Kamehameha School for Boys as a settler colonial project during its formative years. This project examines the relationship between racial discourse and gendered pedagogies at the Kamehameha School for Boys between 1888 and 1913, employing Maile Arvin’s theory of the settler colonial logic of possession to conceptualize what I describe as a possessive race-saving project. I propose that a similar logic of possession through whiteness underscores the settler colonial project at KS that was purported to save the Hawaiian race from degeneracy and extinction. Kanaka Maoli boys are produced to be closer-to-whiteness through re-masculinizing pedagogies, and therefore somewhat assimilable as industrial laborers, in the name of racial rehabilitation. Students are able to possess whiteness, but are also possessed in the process. Possession simultaneously frames the white faculty and administrators as race-saviors, indigenizing the methods employed at KS and naturalizing the political authority of white settlers over Kanaka Maoli. The logics of possession, however, are able sometimes unsettled through regenerative refusals by Kanaka Maoli students, in which Indigenous futurities beyond possession were still imagined.
  • Item
    Learning & Teaching Historical Complexity in Hawai‘i: The King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, Two Teachers, and Two Seminars on Native Hawaiian Legal Challenges
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2015-05) Mandado, Ryan ; Kosasa, Karen Keiko ; American Studies
    Many teachers do not have the educational tools to address complex historical topics in the classroom. In Hawai‘i, Native Hawaiian Self-Determination and American democracy are contradictory issues for some teachers. These teachers feel uncomfortable if they uphold American ideals of justice and equality while teaching students about Native Hawaiian legal challenges. Classroom discussions may become too controversial and emotional for them. How can we assist educators to guide young people to think critically about American historical, political, social, and cultural issues? Museums and similar institutions are continually looking for ways to engage with their local communities. Today, teachers often look to museums for resources that their classroom textbooks may not offer. The King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center (JHC) is an example of one of these places in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. This project examines two seminars held at JHC: The Constitution and Native Hawaiian Self-Determination (2009) and Challenges of American Citizenship for Native Peoples (2011). It is important to understand not only what the teachers learned, but how they learned the information in these seminars. To accomplish this I interviewed teachers and JHC staff, and attended a JHC seminar. Through my research I discovered how museums and educators work together to teach students about complex, contradictory, and potentially controversial historical events and issues. I also began to understand the destructive effects of American colonialism on Native and non-Native teachers and students in the classroom.
  • Item
    LeBron James, Self Determination, and the Slavery of the African American Athlete
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2015-05) Ballard, Troy ; Tripp, Jeffery ; American Studies
    A belief of white superiority has been a constant dominating undertone in American history, and because of this, there has been irrefutable prejudice and discrimination towards those of African American descent. Demonstrations of white supremacy are constantly visible within popular culture, most being tucked into the subscript of a popular sitcom, buried in the lyrics of the newest pop single or thinly veiled in a clothing advertisement, and professional sports are no exception. I suggest in this project that black athletes are exploited by a predominately white consumer base that values a win-loss column and statistics more than understanding the long-term and historical precedent of professional sports as an institution that forcefully rejects self-determination, promotes negative historical stereotypes and ideologies, and ultimately, serves as a contemporary form of slavery. To substantiate this claim, I will examine several prominent examples of the public sphere broadly rejecting LeBron James’ desire to self-determine. This project will analyze public letters written by a team owner, fan and public responses on Twitter and professional sports publications following comments made by James about his salary and following “Decision.” By examining the career of James, arguably the most popular black athlete in the world, he is the ideal metaphor for all other African American athletes.
  • Item
    Where’s the Aloha? A Genealogy of Local Culture
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Wheeler, Jennifer ; Njoroge, Njoroge ; American Studies
    Due to its fluid nature and ability to evolve, local culture is difficult to define. Local identity is often defined by what it is not, what it is in opposition to, or who cannot participate in it. The scholarly discourse which has sought to engage local culture develops an origin story which begins on the plantations, evolves through a shared history of labor oppression, and unifies the people as they make lives for themselves working the sugar or pineapple fields. Almost as soon as it begins, local history ends with racial harmony, and is then absorbed back into the broader narrative of Hawaii’s history. However, this narrative is reductive and does not explain how local identity continues to be racialized. The history of local identity began on the plantations, was shaped by white supremacist ideology, and evolved during historical moments of extreme racial tension. While local history parallels the history of Hawaii, it deserves to be analyzed and chronicled in order to better understand its current incarnation. This thesis seeks to conduct a meaningful analysis of racialized cultural identity and develop a historical narrative of its evolution. In order to achieve this aim, primary source materials such as newspapers, court documents, cartoons, caricatures, and literature will be utilized in conjunction with secondary scholarly sources to construct a narrative. Additionally, oral histories and interviews will be employed to gain a fuller understanding of what local identity is and its connection to historical events.
  • Item
    Colonization, The English Language, and Alaska Natives: How English has Affected Alaska Native Culture
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) Pruett, Emily ; American Studies
    Marie Smith Jones died January 21st, 2008 in Anchorage Alaska. Jones was the last person in the world to speak the Alaska Native language, Eyak, and with her death the Eyak language has become extinct. There are 20 Alaska Native languages in Alaska today, and all of them are endangered. Michael E. Krauss, the premier linguist who, in 1991 at the Linguistic Society of America, drew attention to the fate of all American Indigenous languages asserts, “At the rate things are going, unless there’s some miracle or vast change takes place that we can’t foresee ... 95 percent of our languages will be gone by the end of the next century, or maybe just 90 percent if we’re lucky.” In the course of my research I will explore the effect that the English language has had on Alaska Native languages, and by extension the Alaska Native way of life. Through researching digital archives, interviewing those active in Alaska Native language revitalization, and reading Alaska Native writers and activists, as well as other writers from colonized nations around the world I argue that as a colonial tool English has done nearly irreparable damage to Alaska Native languages and cultural heritage by psychologically and systematically marginalizing indigenous language and culture. I will also examine how Alaska Natives are working to protect, preserve, and pass down their languages as part of their cultural heritage.
  • Item
    “Super-Powers and the Super Powers”: Representation of Nuclear Military Technology through Comic Books
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) Kubojiri, Meagan ; American Studies
    During World War II, the United States demonstrated its military might to the rest of the world when it dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As writer Frank Conroy described, the generation of the new atomic age “felt exhilaration at the indisputable proof that America was the strongest power on earth” (quoted in Henriksen 39). At the time of the attacks, the innovative nuclear technology was celebrated; Americans perceived the atomic bomb as an efficient military weapon that spared countless lives when the enemy surrendered and the Allies emerged from war as victorious. However, shortly after, when the vast destruction of the bomb was revealed, questions of the ethicality regarding the use of nonconventional weapons arose. As the United States entered the Cold War against the Soviet Union, the celebration of World War II victories started to fade and was replaced by the anxieties of a possible nuclear apocalypse.
  • Item
    Protecting & Serving
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) Hercher, Megan ; McDougal, Brandy ; American Studies
    I have compiled a raw collection of poetry that speaks to the obstacles and disturbances my mother’s incarceration has imparted unto me. Much of the content involves worries and uncertainties I faced during her multiple arrests, the conditions in which we lived prior to her arrest, and particular coping mechanisms I utilized during the entire process—a process that is life-long. Prior to the poetry I have amassed a brief introduction that speaks to themes throughout my writing as well as different contextual literature that deals with the effects maternal incarceration has on children.
  • Item
    America's pulpit wars: A comparison of the religious rhetoric of the past and present
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) Fukumoto, Beth ; American Studies
    On November 6, 2004, the world held its breath as citizens of the United States cast their votes for the next president. Polls, projections and every other crystal ball employed by the media predicted one of the nation's closest presidential races ever. Incumbent George W. Bush, conservative Republican and champion of the Religious Right, may have had a slight lead, but Senator John Kerry was close behind.
  • Item
    Pacific Challenge: Regional Agendas and Global Deterrence in Conflict - The Story of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and the Breaking of ANZUS
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) DuPuis, Reshela ; American Studies
    On August 6, 1945, the American military exploded a 13 kiloton atomic bomb approximately 2000 feet above the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It was the first time such a device had ever been used in war, and within seconds, 100000 people were dead or dying. Three days after the Hiroshima explosion, a second bomb was detonated over the city of Nagasaki. Within days, the Japanese government surrendered to the Americans, and the bloodiest war in human history was over.
  • Item
    A Case Study of Meeting the Japanese Challenge in Japan: International Business Machines, Japan
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-01-15) Yamamoto, Beth ; McCutcheon, James ; American Studies
    The United States foreign trade deficit reached a high of $123.3 billion ins 1984. The deficit with Japan stood at $36.8 billion, the largest trade imbalance figures America had with any country. Japan's economic achievements over the past several decades have had a profound, even revolutionary effect on America's, and the world's economic and political systems. The relative impact has been the greatest on the United States, who saw its share of the world economy decline from more than one-third to about one-fifth since the 1960's.