American Studies home page

How Others See Us

All departments at UH Manoa undergo external reviews and evaluations by visiting panels of nationally prominent experts every five to seven years.

A team of high-level university administrators from Massachusetts, New Mexico, Maryland, and California conducted the most recent review of the American Studies Department in Spring 2010. What follows are excerpts from their summary report:

Soliloquy by Bradley Koki

Soliloquy, 1989, by Bradley Koki

The UH Manoa American Studies Department “is comparable to most of the largest American Studies departments on the mainland, but its strengths in transnational, indigenous, Hawaiian, and Asian-Pacific American diasporas set it apart from its peers.” It is “an intellectually vibrant department… [that] leads in faculty diversity… and stands at the forefront of transhemispheric American Studies.  No other American Studies program on the mainland can match this emphasis on the transnational, particularly with its focus on Asian-Pacific peoples and migrations…. Interdisciplinarity is not a goal for these colleagues, but a daily practice, one that informs their research, teaching, and community engagement.”

“In short, American Studies [at UH] is a forward-thinking department with a good balance of established scholars and dynamic junior colleagues. Reflecting the multicultural realities of Hawai‘i, they are also public intellectuals whose influence extends beyond the campus and the academy. At the forefront of teaching from transhemispheric standpoints, American Studies [at UH] has both global reach and community connections. Indeed, transnationalism is much more than a scholarly pursuit, it is a lived experience.”

Other reviewers have a more intimate vantage point from which to judge the department and its faculty: the students who enroll in our classes. For some years now all department faculty have agreed to have their classes evaluated via a detailed UH survey device that provides both quantitative and qualitative evaluations of UH faculty and their courses. It allows public access to those evaluations by going to the eCAFE website and clicking first on the “View Published Evaluations” link and then on the names of American Studies faculty, as listed under the “People” link on the American Studies website.

The UH American Studies Department is part of the university’s 320-acre flagship campus in lush Manoa Valley—the university’s research center and the largest campus in the 50,000+ student UH system. Located a few minutes from downtown Honolulu and Waikiki on the island of O‘ahu, which has just under a million residents, it is close to a thriving urban center, yet is only a short drive to pristine beaches, mountain ranges, forests, and other natural and historic landmarks.

Feel free to email ( or call (808-956-8570) the department with any inquiries. Or, if you prefer, contact the department chair, graduate chair, or undergraduate chair. You will find their names in the listing of core faculty on this site. We’ll be happy to answer your questions.