American Studies home page


Ruth Craft (PhD)
Ruth began her graduate studies in anthropology, earning her BA at UH-West O‘ahu and her MA at UH Mānoa. Her interests include U.S. Pacific relations, Micronesian diasporas, militarism/militarization, citizenship, and gender, feminist, and ethnographic studies. She has been involved in numerous community service and research projects on Guam, in the Marshall Islands, and in Hawai‘i, including serving as an instructor of public school teachers at the English Language Institute in the Marshall Islands, a part-time teacher of English Language Learners in Hawai‘i, and as a researcher for a historic preservation project in Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i. Ruth was born into a transient military lifestyle and lived on Guam for a number of years both as a child and as an adult, which led to a deep interest in the Micronesian region. Ruth’s dissertation focuses on Micronesia’s women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Michael DeMattos (PhD)
Michael is the Chair of the Bachelors Program at the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  He received the coveted Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2008 and considers the classroom sacrosanct.  Prior to coming to UH, Michael spent the last twenty years as therapist for children, teens and their families.  He has worked in a variety of settings including psychiatric facilities, runaway and homeless youth shelters, substance abuse programs, as well as the public school system.  The common denominator amongst those Michael served – poverty.  As a result, the focus of Michael’s study is the discrepancy and disparity between the have and have-nots and the necessary relationship between the two; especially as it occurs in shared psychological, emotional, and political space.  Michael is particularly interested in the working poor, livable wages, tourism as a modern form of colonialism, and the impact of moving from an industrialized to a service economy.

E. Sunny Greer (PhD)
E. Sunny Greer was born and raised in Kahana, Oahu. She received her dual B.A. in American Studies and Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. After nearly a decade working in state and municipal government, Sunny returned to school to earn a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law, where she was the first student to graduate with certificates in both Environmental Law and Pacific-Asian Legal Studies (Specialty in Native Hawaiian Law). She recently obtained an M.A. in American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation. She is currently working towards a Ph.D in American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies. Her research focuses on traditional Native Hawaiian funerary customs and analyzing the impact of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in Hawaii. 

Line-Noue Memea Kruse (PhD)
Line-Noue academic interests are US territorial relationship in the 21st century from an indigenous Samoan perspective considering issues of gender, colonization, identity-diaspora, economic re-colonization, politics, governance and development. Line-Noue teaches History and Political Science at the National University of Samoa.

Kevin LimKevin Lim (PhD)
Kevin Lim’s primary research examines the Myth of Canadian Multiculturalism through an investigation of Asian Canadian Histories and Asian Canadian media arts. Kevin also writes on discourse analysis of Asian American online culture, Asian representation in American Pornography, Mixed Race Hollywood, Asian American/Asian Canadian film and Japanese Popular Culture consumption in America. Kevin received his MA in Film Studies from York University in 2008.

Valerie Lo (PhD)
Valerie has a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from University of California Santa Cruz and a Master of Arts in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University. Valerie has taught Asian American Studies courses at UC Davis and City College of San Francisco. Her dissertation focuses on mixed race celebrities and cross-racial performance. Outside of school, Valerie volunteers at the Northern California Family Dog Rescue, practices Aikido (she was awarded a black belt in 2011), and spends the majority of her free time boxing.

Sanae Nakatani (PhD)
Sanae’s research interests include Japanese American history, U.S.-Japan relations, and U.S. culture and race relations during the Cold War era.  Sanae’s dissertation examines the lives and works of three influential Japanese  American artists/architects: Isamu Noguchi, Minoru Yamasaki, and George Nakashima.  Her publications include: “Successful’ Nisei: Politics of Representation and the Cold War American Way of Life,” Pacific and American Studies 15 (2015); “Staging Democracy and Multiculturalism: The 1970 Osaka Exposition and the Hawai‘i Pavilion,” Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas 1, issue 1-2 (2015).

Stacy Nojima (PhD)
Stacy was born and raised in Santa Rosa, California. She received her BA in English and American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University in 2008. She is concurrently participating in the International Cultural Studies Certificate Program. Her areas of interest focus on spatial mappings as they address race, gender, identity, and literature (with a particular emphasis on mixed-race issues as well as Asian American literature).

Kristy Hisako Ringor (PhD) Kristy is originally from Lihue, Kauai. Kristy received her BA from Oregon State University in June of 2000. Two weeks after graduation she packed up her car and four days later arrived in Washington, D.C. to serve a two year term as Communications Director for the U.S. Student Association. During her term with USSA Kristy worked on issues affecting access to higher education, such as financial aid, electoral reform, racial profiling, hate crimes and served as a founding committee member for the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition. She also worked closely with the USSA Foundation on the National Student Labor Day of Action and National Take Affirmative Action Day. Kristy’s academic interests lie in sport and popular culture; and race and racism.

Chihiro Komine Sakihara (PhD)
Chihiro was born and raised in Okinawa. She graduated from the University of the Ryukyus with a BA in American literature and culture in 2000. In 2003, she earned an M.A. in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton. Beginning in Fall 2004, she became a part of the UH AMST community as a PhD student. She returned with her family to Okinawa in 2008, where she is continuing her work towards the degree while she works for the International Institute for Okinawan Studies at the University of the Ryukyus as a research assistant. Her areas of interest include: Cultural politics in the US occupation of Okinawa, US-Asia-Pacific relations, and US and Japanese colonialisms.

Sarah SmorolSarah Smorol (PhD and Graduate Assistant)
Sarah has a BA in Language and Cultural Studies (SUNY Empire) and an MA in Cross-Cultural Arts and Literature (San Diego State University). Her area studies are “Politics of Visual Culture” (with an emphasis on film) and “U.S. Multicultural Women’s Literature.” Additional interests include U.S./Latin American relations, and Art as Resistance. She is also working on the Advanced Women’s Studies Graduate Certificate. She is currently a committee chair on the Graduate Student Organization’s Executive Council, working to create community across disciplinary borders. She is a member of the American Studies Association and the Modern Language Association. Her forthcoming publications include: Contributor, Queers in American Pop Culture, Vol. 1 Film and Television. USA: Praeger, 2010 (Ed. Jim Elledge).To read about Sarah’s education, publications, organizations and hobbies see here:

Karyn (Mo) Wells (PhD)Karyn Wells
Karyn focuses on Indigenous places, space and politics. Her MA work explored American Indian Studies and the American Criminal Justice System. Mo graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Colorado Boulder with BA degrees in Ethnic Studies and Anthropology. Her research interests lay in American Indian Studies, Genocide, International Law, and imperial linguistics. She is active in the American Indian Movement and other social justice organizations.

Wendy Jeanne Wichman (PhD)
Wendy was born and raised in Hawai’i. She graduated from Stanford University with a BA in International Relations, receiving departmental honors for her thesis on the international treaty codifying customary and statutory laws known as the Law of the Sea. Following graduation, she worked in Washington D.C. for U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga, as well as a year as a research assistant to Dr. Victor Li, then president of the East-West Center. A number of years were spent raising four sons, now grown. At the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, she earned a graduate certificate in Historic Preservation in 2000 and an MA in American Studies in 2003. That year she launched her own consulting business, Preservation Associates. She also worked for two years as an architectural historian for Mason Architects, a Honolulu firm specializing in preservation planning, adaptive reuse of historic structures, restoration, research and more. Her areas of interest include Hawai’i history, social movements, visual culture, and the politics of historic preservation. 

Yohei Sekiguchi (PhD)
Yohei Sekiguchi is a doctoral candidate.  He received his master’s and bachelor’s degree from the University of Tokyo’s English department.  The past recipient of fellowships from Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation, the Center for Asia-Pacific Exchange, and East-West Center, he most recently held Dissertation Scholarships and Graduate Merit Scholarships from American Studies at University of Hawaii at Manoa.  His publications include: “Captivity Narrative in Tra Bong’ and Daniel Cano’s “Somewhere Outside Duc Pho.'” Renyxa 5.3 (2014), “Reconciling with the Father: Tim O’Brien’s Unrepresentable Fictions on Vietnam.” Strata 22 (2008). He is currently working on a dissertation which examines the representation of white middle-class fatherhood in late twentieth century American literature and the emergence of the post-nuclear family ideology under the regime of neoliberalism.