History Forum

The Department of History hosts an ongoing History Forum for talks and presentations by UH faculty and visiting scholars throughout the year. The Forum is also available for graduate students to present research and practice job talks. For more information on participating, please contact Dr. Peter Hoffenberg. All sessions are in the Department of History Seminar Room, Sakamaki Hall A201. Lectures are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Spring 2017

FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Shifting Gears and Paradigms at the Movies: Masculinity, Automobility, and the Rhetorical Dimensions of Mad Max: Fury Road
12:00-1:30 pm
Lecturer: Prof. Darrin Payne, UH Mānoa Department of English

Prof. Payne will discuss the recent Mad Max: Fury Road film in light of how mainstream films play a significant role in the slow and steady changes in mass culture ideologies. Such changes are rarely revolutionary, and films such as the Mad Max series balance tensions circulating in the public sphere. They can pave the way for an easing-in of evolutionary change, often appearing to play it safe and accommodate the existing ideologies. Racing across the post-apocalyptic desert might prove otherwise in this provocative approach to a provocative and popular film.

Fall 2016

SEPTEMBER 12, 2016

In Honolulu, Herman Melville Indignantly Views a Lady in a Carriage
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Prof. Jonathan Morse, UH Mānoa Department of English

Prof. Jonathan Morse (UH Mānoa Department of English) will discuss a lithograph from Honolulu in the 1850s which corroborates Herman Melville’s description of an American missionary woman in a carriage drawn not by horses, but by Hawaiian men. How did Melville and others represent and respond to that scene from Hawaii history? Is there a continuing significance to the public and literary controversies that ensued?

Prof. Morse teaches poetry, American literature and literature of the Modernist period in the Department of English. He currently writes about language and photography, and is the author of Word by Word: The Language of Memory (Cornell University Press) and of many essays on topics including Emily Dickinson and the obsession with zeppelins.

OCTOBER 3, 2016

21st-Century Indigeneity and Resistance: Movements in Indigenous Latin America
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Dr. Sue Haglund, UHM Honors Program Educational Specialist

Dr. Haglund will explore the ways in which aesthetic materials and political engagements demonstrate an Indigenous continued existence and autonomy in Latin America in spite of colonial pressures from Spanish-speaking communities. That is the case in places such as Panama. Dr. Haglund is currently an Educational Specialist in the Honors Program.

NOVEMBER 14, 2016

Rethinking Adorno: When is it OK to Forget and Why?
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Prof. Peter H. Hoffenberg, UH Mānoa Department of History

Prof. Peter H. Hoffenberg (UH Mānoa History Department) will explore the possible advantages of forgetting, rather than remembering, in an attempt to create a democratic present and future. Taking up Adorno’s old challenge of “coming to terms with the past,” or “mastering the past,” and more recent reconsiderations of the power of collective memory, Prof. Hoffenberg will consider ways that coming to terms with, or mastering, could provide substantive and enduring reconciliation without the revenge and malice so often connected to memory and commemoration. Are peace and justice possible together, or must societies choose one, and not the other? This is not a research talk, but a discussion, so Prof. Hoffenberg invites and is looking forward to audience participation as we ponder the advantages of forgetting.

The talk is co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society at UH Mānoa.

Spring 2016

FEBRUARY 10, 2016

Late-19th Century Science and Empire in the Hawaiian Islands: The Case of Sanford Dole and the Honolulu Social Science Association
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Dr. L. M. Ratnapalan, Yonsei University

Dr. Ratnapalan will explore the relationships between scientific research and imperial connections through the lens of the Honolulu Social Science Association (HHSA), which was formed in the decade before the formal annexation of Hawaiʻi. The HSSA’s early membership included prominent figures, such as Sanford Dole. This talk recognizes the HHSA members’ roles in the annexation and considers their scientific projects during this formative period. What were the connections between politics and science around the year 1900?

APRIL 28, 2016

Public Executions and North Korea’s Right to Death
12:00-1:30 pm
Lecturer: Robert York, PhD student

Mr. York will discuss the recent spate of high-profile executions of officials in North Korea. Some have followed public denunciations and credible sources suggest rather gruesome fates for the victims, including being shot at close range by anti-aircraft weaponry. What is going on and why? Mr. York considers a range of sources in Korean and English to ponder how the charges and executions are connected to North Korea’s modernization process and the ruling Kim family’s adaptation of public pageantry. Black market activities following the Great Famine of the 1990s contributed to these developments. Mr. York is majoring in Korean history and spent seven years in South Korea. In addition to his studies, our speaker is Chief Editor of NK News, a website specializing in North Korea- related news and analyses. Please join us.

Previous Forums

Fall 2015

SEPTEMBER 25, 2015

‘Missionary of Science:’ Germain Bouchon-Brandely, Science, and Conservation in the Tuamotu Lagoons
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Matt Cavert, UHM Graduate Student

OCTOBER 5, 2015

Reconstructing R. L. Stevenson’s Pacific Islands Photographs
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Dr. Carla Manfredi, Visiting Post-Doc Scholar

Dr. Manfredi, a recent graduate of Queen’s University in Canada, will introduce and discuss R. L. Stevenson’s extensive photography in the Pacific Islands, including the images housed in the archive at The Writer’s Museum in Edinburgh. Working with his wife and stepson during his final years, the famous author produced nearly 600 photographs, including a series depicting King Tembinok’ of Apemama. Dr. Manfredi will consider the images and also the methodological challenges that they pose.

OCTOBER 9, 2015

Ta’isi O. F. Nelson and the Mau: Australian and Hawaiian Dimensions to New Zealand and Samoan History
Co-sponsored by the Center for Pacific Island Studies
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Dr. Patricia O’Brien, ANU

Dr. O’Brien will explore how Australia and Australians played a role in the history of Samoan Mau. The person predominantly responsible for making and maintaining Australian connections was Ta’isi O. F. Nelson, the nationalist leader. He had business interests in Sydney and unlikely friendships with some Australian public figures. This talk also discusses Ta’isi’s exile from Samoa in Auckland during the Great Depression and connections between Hawaiʻi and Samoa in the 1920’s. That connection includes commemorations of Captain Cook in 1928. Dr. O’Brien is the author of The Pacific Muse: Exotic Femininity and the Colonial Pacific.

NOVEMBER 17, 2015

It’s the Eurocene: Carbon Archaeology and the Geopolitics of Modern Geology
12:00-1:30 pm
Lecturer: Prof. Jairus Grove, UHM Political Science

Prof. Grove discusses the Anthropocene, or “the human dominance of biological, chemical and geological processes on Earth” (Paul Crutzen), as a political rather than a technical concept. Furthermore, the Anthropoceneobscures the historical, geographic, and political specific events of European economic transformation and then expansion, starting during the 16th century. This paper argues that geologically significant alterations of the planet are the result of a relatively small portion of the population and that European geopolitical expansion and development are at the root of the metabolic rift. The current image of the Anthropocene should include irreversible consequences of European expansion and needs to be rethought, as its current use influences the development of global governance in ways which continue to harm those most affected by European expansion and colonization. Dr. Grove engages the influential scholarship of Fernand Braudel and William H. McNeill.

DECEMBER 9, 2015

Recent Scholarship on Genocide, Genocide Prevention and the Shoah
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Dr. Yehuda Bauer, Yad Vashem

Dr. Yehuda Bauer, visiting from Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel, will discuss the current state of historical scholarship concerning genocide, genocide prevention and the Holocaust. Recent scholarly works by historians among others continue to raise important questions about the origins of genocide and how to prevent such atrocities. In particular, recent historical studies of the Holocaust have addressed important questions about predicting the next genocide. The talk is free and open to the public.

Spring 2015

JANUARY 21, 2015

War and Diplomacy in the South Pacific, 1914-1919: A Multinational Approach
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Bart Zielinski, King’s College, London

This talk discusses the many facets of the Great War in the Pacific, including, but not limited to, questions of diplomacy, warfare, great power politics, imperial strategy and post-war aims. World War One and the Paris Peace Conference had significant impacts on the Pacific Islands, among which were Samoa and New Guinea, as will be shown in this consideration of German, American, Japanese, Australian, French, New Zealand and British actions and policies. The talk is part of a major collaborative research project entitled “Australia in War and Peace, 1914-1919.”

FEBRUARY 9, 2015

John Alexander Dowie and Two Ways of Writing the History of Something That Didn’t Happen
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Professor Jonathan Morse, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Prof. Morse will explore the relationship between history and language by considering the historical travels and fictional visit of the faith-healer John Alexander Dowie. Also known as “Elijah the Restorer,” Dowie toured the world in 1904 story to raise funds for his combined utopian community and Ponzi scheme. James Joyce wrote in Ulysses about Dowie’s visit to Dublin, including a sermon in American slang. What does a comparison of how historical and literary scholars think about and use Joyce’s fictional account of an historical person tell us about our studies? Prof. Morse writes about modernist literature, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and photography. He is the author of Word by Word: The Language of Memory and a blog about language and photography. His article about Dowie, “The Big Picture Book of Ben Bloom Elijah,” is forthcoming in The James Joyce Quarterly.

MARCH 2, 2015

Why “So Dismal a Failure?” The South Kensington International Exhibitions of the Early 1870s and Exhibition Angst
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Professor Peter Hoffenberg, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Prof. Hoffenberg will explore the reasons given at the time and a few years later for the “failure” of the grand scheme of annual international exhibitions to be held at South Kensington during the 1870s. Four were held, and then the shows were abandoned. Why? How did contemporaries explain the dwindling attendance, lack of interest in newspapers and periodicals, and reluctance of exhibitors to display? Some critics offered comments about very specific elements of the exhibition experience such as the architectural lay out of the buildings and the “tyrannical” character of the executive commissioner and others made bolder claims about the relationship between exhibitions, society and politics. This talk is the first step in a longer-term project evaluating the shifting Victorian views of exhibitions in light of changing understandings of the public and society itself. It will focus on the writings of two key exhibition figures: John Forbes Watson (1827-1892) Reporter of Economics at the India Museum and Henry Trueman Wood (1845-1929), Secretary of the Royal Society of Arts.

MARCH 18, 2015

Fair Compensation? American Indians at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Professor Dave Beck, University of Montana-Missoula

The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago has been called the “most successful of all world’s fairs.” It brought together people from across the world. Several hundred American Indians along with numerous other ‘Native peoples’ came to the fair to work and to be displayed as part of both ‘scientific’ and entrepreneurial exhibits. This presentation will explore both how the American Indians were represented, and how the fair provided (or failed to provide) ‘Native peoples’ with opportunities to participate in a wage labor economy, something that was relatively new to Indian country.

APRIL 1, 2015

What’s In a Name? Native American Name Giving: The Supernatural and Connections to the Natural World
12:30-2:00 pm
Lecturer: Professor Rosalyn LaPier, University of Montana-Missoula

This talk addresses how Native Americans (notably the Blackfeet of the northern Great Plains) got their names, such as Mad Plume, Aims Back, Spotted Bear and No Runner. Where did these names come from and what do they really mean? Understanding naming and names provides insights for scholars seeking to better understand what Native Americans thought about their relationship to the supernatural and the natural worlds.

APRIL 30, 2015

Small Things and Big Ideas: Microhistory Past and Present; or, Ordinary People in Extraordinary Trouble!
12:00-1:30 pm
Lecturer: Dean Peter Arnade, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, College of Arts & Humanities

Microhistory burst upon the historical scene in the 1970s and is now almost half a century old, the rebel child comfortably in middle age. This talk will detail microhistory’s past practice and current status, and ponder its importance in the era of the global and transnational. Dr. Arnade will consider his own scholarly adventures with microhistory in Honor, Vengeance and Sexual Scandal: Pardon Letters in the Burgundian Low Countries (Cornell University Press, 2015). Such 15th century pardon letters give tantalizingly direct glimpses into the world of ordinary people in extraordinary trouble.

FALL 2014

NOVEMBER 17, 2014

Melanesian Emerson: Bernard Narokobi and the Creation of Papua New Guinean Cultural Nationalism
Lecturer: Professor Alex Golub, Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaiʻi

Prof. Golub will explore the achievements of Bernard Narokobi, a major thinker during PNG’s independence movement. Narokobi passed away in 2010 and there is only limited scholarship on his writings and achievements. Using those writings and interviews with people who knew him, Prof. Golub intends to write an historical anthropology of the recent past. He is the author most recently of Leviathans at the Gold Mine: Creating Indigenous and Corporate Actors in Papua New Guinea (Duke University Press, 2014).

OCTOBER 24, 2014

The Origins of American and East Asian Concepts of Modernity, 1860-1920
Lecturer: Professor Jon T. Davidann, Department of History, Hawaiʻi Pacific University

Prof. Davidann will discuss the historical roots of Asia-Pacific regional tensions and dynamism by exploring American, Japanese and Chinese ideas of modernity and nationalism, including unexpected linkages among them. Key figures in this study include Fukuzawa Yukichi, Kang Yuwei, Liang Chichao, Sun Yatsen, William James, Franz Boas and John Dewey. The regional search for modernity included considerations of nationalism, race and democracy. This talk is part of a larger book project on the “foundation of modernity” in the U S and East Asia, between 1860 and 1950.

SPRING 2014

APRIL 30, 2014

Historical Highlights of Hemp Fiber Use: The Case of Eurasia
Lecturer: Professor Mark Merlin, Department of Botany, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Prof. Merlin will discuss the long history of true hemp use in Eurasia. The extensive and varied use of
plant stalk fiber extracted from
Cannabis has importance in this and other world regions; in fact, Cannabis ranks as among the world’s most important multipurpose resources. Important historic uses include ones connected to ritual, cordage, clothing, health, politics and war. This talk is based on Dr. Merlin’s monograph with Robert C. Clarke, Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany (University of California Press, 2013).

OCTOBER 24, 2014

Sons, Daughters and Labor Supply in Early Twentieth-Century Hawaiʻi
Lecturer: Professor Sumner J. LaCroix, Department of Economics, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Prof. La Croix will explore how immigration to Hawaiʻi between 1864 and 1928 transformed its ethnic structure and population size. With Prof. Tim Halliday, UH Mānoa Economics Department, Sumner investigates whether high Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and White sex ratios allowed women to negotiate better marriage terms and to allocate more household resources to daughters. Using the 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 Territorial Censuses, the two scholars make suggestions about how those trends affected mothers’ participation in the local labor market.

APRIL 1, 2014

The Holocaust, Antisemitism, and Canada
Lecturer: Professor Irving Martin Abella, Department of History, York University

Please join us for a special History Forum Public Talk by Dr. Irving Martin Abella, Prof. of History, York University, and a well-respected specialist in the history of the Jews in Canada and the Canadian labor movement.

MARCH 12, 2014

Forgetting History: Alzheimer’s & Documentary Writing
Lecturer: Professor Susan M. Schultz, Department of English, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Prof. Schultz will explore what it means to “write history in a time of forgetting.” Her most recent book, “She’s Welcome to Her Disease:” Dementia Blog, Volume 2 (Singing Horse Press, 2013), combined poetry, diaristic writing, essay, children’s stories and official documents to tell the story of her mother’s Alzheimer’s and death. World War II was the central moment of her life, as it was for so many of her generation, but by the end she had forgotten that War. Prof. Schultz will read from the book, and talk about how to write Alzheimer’s, or history in a period of forgetting.