Tenure experiences of Native Hawaiian women faculty

Kaopua, Heipua P.
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
This study examines the status of women of color in academe with a particular focus on Native Hawaiian women faculty. Using a qualitative narrative design, this research examined the experiences of tenured instructional Native Hawaiian women faculty (Nā Wahine) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Two research questions guided this inquiry: 1) How do tenured instructional Native Hawaiian women faculty describe their experiences leading up to tenure? 2) What, if any, Native Hawaiian values influenced the tenure process? This project employed: 1) two theoretical lenses--Poststructural Feminism and Indigenous Theory 2) two methodologies--Narrative Inquiry and Arts-Informed Research; and 3) two Indigenous methods--moʻolelo (storytelling) and hōʻailona (symbolic reflection on artifacts). A key finding in this study is that Nā Wahine experienced multiple barriers on their journey through academe to achieve tenure, including institutional racism and sexism; patriarchy; residual issues of colonialism; oppressive university politics and power; an androcentric tenure process; tokenism; Western and Native Hawaiian cultural tensions; and issues regarding Indigenous research. Personal barriers identified by Nā Wahine include issues pertaining to death and loss, Native Hawaiian identity, class, gender, and family care. The three major themes in this study: Pōhaku Hoʻokeʻa (Barriers), Mana Wahine (Innate Female Power), and Pono (Indigenous Authenticity) contribute to the literature regarding multiple barriers that Nā Wahine encountered in academe, the innate strength and power they exercised in overcoming these obstacles, and the Indigenous authenticity they displayed in remaining true to Native Hawaiian culture and values. Implications for theory include establishing how two disparate theories worked powerfully together to examine the experiences of Nā Wahine, demonstrating the effective use of mo'olelo and hō'ailona as forms of data collection and analysis, and proposing a new feminist Indigenous theory, Native Women's Theory, that aims to promote research about, by, and for Indigenous women. Implications for practice include developing mentoring networks for women similar to a hula hālau and creating a welcoming environment for Native Hawaiian women. Future researchers might focus on the tenure experiences of Native Hawaiian male faculty, ways to support Native Hawaiians in leadership positions, and using Indigenous research methods.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Native Hawaiian
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