History Workshops

The History Department hosts an ongoing History workshop for talks and presentations by UH faculty and visiting scholars throughout the year. The Workshop is also available to graduate students to present research and practice job talks. The History Workshop usually takes place on Fridays, 2:30 to 4:00 pm in the History Department Seminar Room, Sakamaki Hall A201, unless otherwise noted.

Spring 2019

FEBRUARY 15, 2019

The Changing Face of Labor between Japan, Hawai‘i, and Colonial Taiwan
Lecturer: Professor Martin Dusinberre, University of Zurich

This paper examines one of the most iconic images of the first Japanese sugar laborers to Hawai‘i, painted by Joseph D. Strong in 1885. Now preserved in a private collection in Tokyo, the painting is a window into the world of transplanted lives in the late- nineteenth century, in particular the way these laborers became a contested site of imagination for different constituencies catering to their arrival—the Japanese government, the Hawaiian king, the sugar plantation owners, and the local press. Moreover, Strong’s work points to the complex layering of historical memory across the traditional historiographical divide of “Asia” and “the Pacific” in the early-twentieth century: the painting’s meanings changed between its departure from Honolulu and its arrival in Yokohama, and changed once again after it was bequeathed to the Taiwan Sugar Company in the mid-1920s. Taking the painting’s frame as a metaphor, the paper examines how the history of Japanese emigration to Hawai‘i was framed at the turn of the twentieth-century, and by whom. Who has painted this history, we might ask, and to what purpose?

Martin Dusinberre is Professor and Chair for Global History at the University of Zurich. His research focuses on Japan and the Pacific world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in particular the history of Japanese imperialism, overseas migration and maritime trade. His first book, Hard Times in the Hometown: A History of Community Survival in Modern Japan (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2012) was a microhistory of a Japanese nuclear village. He is currently completing a book about global history methodologies, inspired by the story of a nineteenth-century Japanese steamship. He is also leading a serious gaming project in digital history, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. His essays have appeared in The Journal of Global History, The Journal of Asian Studies, History Workshop Journal, Historische Anthropologie and The Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History.

APRIL 5, 2019

Dumpster Diving an Archive Box: Cases concerning the Bakers Guild, Copenhagen 1714-1800
Lecturer: Professor Carol Gold, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Generally, when we do research, we start with questions and look for answers. I have turned this process on its head and started with answers—a somewhat randomly chosen box from the Copenhagen City Archives—and looked for questions. The box contains items sent from the Bakers Guild to the Copenhagen city authorities during the eighteenth century. What stories are hidden in the box?

Christian Lentz’ bakery burnt down in 1749. He applied for permission to build a new bakery in a different location, but then could not raise the funds to do so. Journeyman baker Christian Jager got engaged to baker Rasmussen’s widow and now wanted to bake a “masterpiece” in order to gain admission to the guild. There was on-going tension between the bakers and the millers. The bakers accused the millers of favoring the distillers’ grain over the bakers’, which thus sat for days and grew moldy before it was ground. Every six months the city of Copenhagen established the size of bread loaves to be sold for one or two skilling. Equally regularly the bakers complained that they could not make any money at the official prices.

This project is as much about the process of how we do historical research as it is about the content of that research, fascinating as those stories are.

Spring 2018

Who can move? Who can’t move? Who has to move? Why? People in our community and on our campus confront discriminatory barriers affecting their ability to move freely, whether across national borders or coming and going from their places of study, work, visits to friends, family, home, and more. The ability of people to move through space has historically been celebrated, discriminated against, relied on for the provision of labor power and economic might, territorial conquest, the transmission of cultural ideas and practices, and has inspired war. People have always moved, sometimes by choice, sometimes under duress, sometimes both. This series aims to shed light on the historical dynamics underlying peoples’ geographic mobility and immobility with the hope of fostering greater understanding and informed actions for dealing with people, power, and politics today.

MARCH 16, 2018

Mobility and Migration in the Early Modern Mediterranean
Lecturer: Eric Dursteler, BYU History

The migration of tens of millions of people has been one of the defining features and challenges of the early 21st century. Europe has become one of the primary destinations, and the Mediterranean one of the chief points of entry into the continent. In response, European leaders have attempted to make the Mediterranean and its outlying islands, bulwarks in a watery cordon intended to seal out the waves of increasingly desperate refugees and migrants from Africa, the Levant, and beyond, fleeing political, economic, and social turmoil and devastation. This rests on the assumption that some sort of inherent disconnection cleaves Europe from the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, and that the sea serves as a fluid rampart that has long preserved this natural, historical rupture.

Viewed from the perspective of the pre-modern era, however, this is highly problematic. For many years scholars thought that the sea functioned as a barrier to movement, forcing its diverse populations to remain fixed in place. More recent scholarship, however, has shown that Mediterranean peoples were highly mobile, and that the sea’s liquid landscape facilitated rather than blocked movement. Indeed, mobility was deeply rooted in the collective mentality of the region and was one of the Mediterranean’s distinguishing characteristics.

This paper will examine the motivations and mechanics of Mediterranean mobility in the early modern era. Labor mobility, including trade, shipping, agriculture, pastoralism, fishing, and soldiering, was a primary impetus for many. Natural occurrences such as drought, famine, disease, or earthquake drove many migrants. Political and military events could also influence migration patterns. Peasants throughout the Mediterranean, for instance, often expressed their dissatisfactions with their feet by fleeing Christian for Ottoman rule. Movement in the opposite direction also occurred, though with less frequency. Viewed over the longue durée, current migration, rather than an exception, fits into a historical pattern of mobility and connectedness that the Mediterranean has historically served to facilitate rather than barricade.

APRIL 20, 2018

Cultivation & Culture: Migrant Coffees, Planters, & Laborers in New Caledonia
Lecturer: Matthew Cavert, UHM History

In the closing decades of the nineteenth century the colonial administration of New Caledonia began a concerted effort to establish a reliable agricultural foundation for the future prosperity of the settler colony.  Efforts to transform the penal colony into a colony of free settlement focused on the development of the coffee industry.  Coffee embodied colonial aspirations; to transform the countryside, to attract free settlers, to enculturate indigenous populations towards seasonal wage labour, to provide an agricultural anchor for the colony.   The coffee colonialism of New Caledonia enjoyed its golden age between the World Wars, when international prices were high and colonial expositions provided a key venue for selling the experience of the coffee— the idyllic and verdant South Pacific landscape, the taste of the rich island soil, the civilizing mission with its happy indigenous field workers.  Coffee sold the colony not for what it was, but what it wanted to be.

APRIL 27, 2018

Race, Place, and Shifting Borders: African Americans in the Korean War Years
Lecturer: David Cline, San Diego State History

In “Race, Place, and Shifting Borders: African Americans in the Korean War Years,” David Cline will discuss shifting ideas of race, place, nation, and belonging during the key years in which the United States military struggled to desegregate its forces. Drawing on work from his book­‐in­‐progress, “Twice Forgotten: African Americans in the Korean War,” Cline argues for the importance of the integration of the military and the participation of African Americans during the Korean War to the development of equal rights movements at mid‐century. Utilizing excerpts from over 100 oral history narratives, Cline will examine the many boundaries encountered and crossed by black soldiers and sailors in the years before, during, and immediately after the Korean War.

Fall 2017

Who can move? Who can’t move? Who has to move? Why? The History Workshop’s 2017-2018 theme People In Motion: Histories of Human Geographic Mobility and Immobility is inspired by our contemporary moment when thousands of people in our community and on our campus confront discriminatory barriers affecting their ability to move freely across national borders, to feel safe coming and going from their places of study, work, visits to friends, family, home, and more.

The ability of people to move through space and place has historically been celebrated, discriminated against, relied on for the provision of labor power and economic might, territorial conquest, the transmission of cultural ideas and practices, and often became prominent in political conflicts over national and supra-national identities. People have always moved across wide geographic expanses, sometimes by choice, sometimes under duress, sometimes both. Whether settler or seasonal immigrant, slave or indentured laborer, displaced indigenous person, refugee, tourist, undocumented traveler, diasporic family member, investment capitalist, military invader, or forcibly rendered enemy combatant, people have stayed in motion even while creating, encountering, and confronting walls to direct or prevent that motion.

The History Workshop invites contributions that shed light on the human and historical dynamics underlying peoples’ geographic mobility and immobility with the hope of fostering greater understanding and informed actions for dealing with people, power, and politics today. We particularly welcome scholarship that addresses these issues in a Pacific context, however all submissions are welcome.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2017

War Orphans, Capitalist Family, and Postwar North Korea’s State-Form
Lecturer: C. Harrison Kim, UHM History

While a war raged on the peninsula, the North Korean state began, in November 1951, sending orphans and young adults abroad. The first group went to Hungary, and over the next decade, as many as ten thousand settled throughout Eastern Europe. Toward the end of 1950s, North Korea called them back home. The circulation of North Korea’s children of war evokes some observations. First, their movement was a part of global circulation of a quarter-million children after World War II. Second, the circulation of children is North Korea’s moment of critique of the capitalist family. The placement of children not with families but at foreign institutions was a rejection of the private adoption market, which North Korea saw as a new system of exploitation. And third, the state’s appropriation of the children’s lives was carried out as large amounts of loans arrived from the countries that took these children. In this process, the children attained the economic function of potentially productive workers within North Korea’s production regime, if not as symbols of collateral for the loans.

OCTOBER 27, 2017

Crossing Borders: The Indian Ocean World in the Age of Nationalism
Lecturer: Ned Bertz, UHM History

The western Indian Ocean was stitched together as a coherent historical space through mobility and exchange across its waters. Colonialism and nationalism altered older patterns of migratory circulations and increasingly locked far-flung diasporas within nation states. While colonial states tried to create societies in which racial, ethnic, and religious groups lived in aloof coexistence, economic, political, and cultural lives remained deeply interlocked across empires. Later, while post-independence governments attempted to assimilate diverse citizens to singular national identities, older Indian Ocean ways of understanding difference were sustained for decades. For many residents, even immobile ones, the sense of belonging to a transoceanic area continued as a result of the persistence of networks and the awareness of connected pasts. Through urban historical ethnographies based on interviews and archival sources from East Africa and India, this paper will suggest models to study mobility in the Indian Ocean that move away from those imposed by colonial powers or based on studies of Western nation states.

DECEMBER 1, 2017

In the swimming pool with Omar Cabezas and Richard Gere: A Filipino Communist Goes Abroad
Lecturer: Prof. Patricio Abinales, UHM School of Pacific & Asian Studies

Previous Workshops

Spring 2017

Archives and archival sources are embedded in the institutions and structures of power that historically have produced them. As such they offer invaluable windows onto the past, while posing evidentiary challenges based on their partial representative value, and the power dynamics that shaped their composition, contemporary significance, and the exclusion and inclusion of voices and perspectives that accompanied their creation. What practical, ethical, and other issues accompany finding and defining archives? What challenges confront the reading, use, and interpretation of sources? As historians, how have the nature, possibilities, and limitations of the archives influenced our practice and the values embedded in the histories we tell?

FEBRUARY 3, 2017

History Workshop Roundtable
Speakers: Vina Lanzona, Njoroge Njoroge, Matthew Lauzon, Matthew Romaniello & Suzanna Reiss

MARCH 3, 2017

The Ambassador’s Wife: The Marquise de Villars and the Uses of Matrimonial Teams in Louis XIV’s Diplomacy
Lecturer: Matthew Lauzon

This talk will focus on some of the ways that women participated in early modern European diplomacy when they were typically excluded from acting officially as diplomatic representatives. By focusing on archival traces left by or about Marie Gigault de Bellefonds, the marquise de Villars, (1624-1706), who was the wife of one of Louis XIV’s ambassadors, the talk will explore the reasons for which wives of diplomats either joined their husbands on their diplomatic missions or chose to remain behind. Professor Lauzon will also examine the concerns and struggles that shaped Mme de Villars’s experiences of being the wife of one of Louis XIV’s diplomats. The talk will also show because the Marquise de Villars was explicitly expected to participate—actively but informally—in her husband’s diplomatic missions, we should view Marie as part of a diplomatic ‘matrimonial team’ at the courts of Savoy and Spain during the late 1670s. The paper will conclude by considering how the use of matrimonial teams, like the Villars, created opportunities but also dangers for Louis XIV’s diplomacy.

MARCH 24, 2017

Ka Waihona Palapala Manaleo: Hawaiian Language Research in a Time of Plenty
Lecturer: Noelani Arista

The idea for this talk began with a conversation I had with one of my colleagues who offered to give me comments on my essay, “Ka Waihona Palapala Manaleo: Research in a time of Plenty.” After reading it he basically said, “You are telling people they have to be able to read the ʻarchives.’ Thatʻs not even an argument.” The aftershocks of colonialism supply our history a kind of urgency. Many kanaka maoli scholars are attempting to articulate this urgency by substituting this idea of “kuleana,” but kuleana or responsibility for what settler colonists did to our ʻāina, language, culture and people is something we cannot shoulder. My talk will address how our work is larger than being a cheerleader for a set of papers written in a native language. I will discuss the methods and approaches that shape my practice as a historian, that arose from my interaction with the oral now written and published word, and from my work as a working translator and writer.

APRIL 7, 2017

Working the Imperial Archive: The Book of Negroes, Slavery, and the American Revolution
Lecturer: Marcus Daniel

At the end of the American Revolution, British military forces evacuated New York City and took thousands of African American refugees with them. Some of these refugees were slaves who belonged to British slaveholders, some were free men and women who had supported the British, and some had fled enslavement and their American masters during the chaos created by the war. This exodus generated fierce conflict between the Americans and the British as they tried to negotiate a fragile peace. It also produced a document of great importance and interest: the Book of Negroes. This talk explores the issues of slavery and freedom, of personality and property that led to the creation of this remarkable document, and shows how central the debate about slavery was to the last phase of the revolutionary war.

APRIL 28, 2017

Revolution: A Performance in Three Acts
Lecturer: Elizabeth Colwill

Confronted with the limitations of traditional archival sources for our understanding of gender, slavery, and emancipation, scholars have developed strategies of reading traditional sources “against the grain” even as they redefine what counts as “the archive.” This talk hones in on the interpretive challenges posed by one particular site: a festival choreographed in Bourg-Régénéré, France in 1794 to celebrate one extraordinary revolutionary moment–the abolition of slavery in the French empire. The festival at Bourg-Régénéré—and others like it–unfolded theatrically through a series of embodied, performative acts, both staged and unstaged. This talk interweaves formal politics and public processions, discourse and dance, history and performance theory as it places racialized and gendered bodies at the center of its archive. It suggests that reading the festivals of emancipation as performance enables new kinds of engagements with the dusty, eighteenth-century documentary record.

Spring 2015

The theme for our Spring 2015 History Workshop is “Capitalism in Crisis: Development, Sustainability, & Inequality in Global Perspective.” We live in a world confronting renewed conflict over access to natural resources, dramatic fluctuations in the international capitalist system, ongoing debates about the origins of global economic inequality, and heated differences over whether we are witnessing capitalism’s global triumph or decline. This series seeks to provide a forum to discuss these issues and understand them within longer historical trajectories and debates about the economy, society, governance, the environment, and people’s struggles to survive.

FEBRUARY 13, 2015

Red Spouts over Honolulu: When the First Soviet Whaling Fleet Came to Hawaiʻi and Re-routed Pacific Environmental History
Lecturer: Ryan Jones, University of Auckland

When the Soviet whaling ship, Aleut, arrived unannounced into Honolulu Harbor on November 28, 1932, residents of Hawaiʻi were baffled and intrigued. The United States had no diplomatic relations with the new Communist Russia and port authorities had no idea how to process the ship. In the midst of the Great Depression, many citizens flocked curiously to get a first glimpse of these representatives of the world’s only worker’s state. The Bolshevik officers on board responded eagerly, distributing literature and organizing balalaika concerts for the Honolulu radio. The Aleut’s seven days in port were a rare bright moment in early Soviet-American relations. But the meeting represented something more as well—Soviet planners were fired by memories of earlier Russian imperial whaling in the Pacific, including Hawaiʻi, and saw the Aleut’s voyage as an announcement that Russia had returned as a Pacific power. Thus, at a time when Pacific whaling had nearly ended, the Aleut’s arrival in Honolulu heralded a new era that would culminate in the Soviets’ near total annihilation of the ocean’s great whales.

FEBRUARY 27, 2015

Blind No More: Self-Emancipation, Northern Politics, and the Fugitive Slave Crisis in Antebellum America
Lecturer: Jonathan Daniel Wells, University of Michigan

Placing African Americans at the center of Civil War causation, this paper argues that black Americans’ desire for liberty, combined with the increasing mobility as a result of the Industrial Revolution, created an untenable situation that ultimately led to civil war. As white politicians struggled mightily but unsuccessfully to maintain well-defined borders between slavery and freedom, African Americans fled to the North, followed by slave catchers and kidnappers. As northern states try to maintain these borders, they generate a powerful northern states’ rights ideology that helps to turn northern public opinion against bondage. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 makes the point even clearer. Civil war became inevitable due to the industrial revolution, the resultant enhanced mobility, and African Americans’ desire for freedom, which together created a crisis in sovereignty. We know that African American history has altered our understanding of the war and Reconstruction, but focusing on black history can also help us to rethink causation and change our understanding of antebellum America.

MARCH 3, 2015

Attica, Attica, Attica! From the Possibilities of Prisoner Rebellion to the Problem of Punitive Justice Policy
Lecturer: Heather Ann Thompson, Temple University

On September 9, 1971 over 1200 prisoners took over a maximum security prison in upstate New York. Over the course of their four day rebellion the world watched as prisoners negotiated with top state officials for better living conditions and basic civil rights. Suddenly, on September 13, 1971, Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered the forcible retaking of this prison by hundreds of heavily armed state troopers. The result was a massacre of prisoners and hostages alike. In this talk, Heather Ann Thompson will not only shine new light of this civil rights rebellion, but she will also place it in its broader historical context.

APRIL 8, 2015

Covert Netherworld: An Invisible Arena for Contesting Global Power in the 21st Century
Architecture Auditorium
Lecturer: Alfred W. McCoy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
View Poster

APRIL 24, 2015

Forests in Revolutionary France: Community Sustainability vs. State Conservation, 1669-1848
Lecturer: Kieko Matteson, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

In this talk, Kieko Matteson explores the long, often violent history of struggle between state and local stakeholders over France’s forests in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In an age when wood constituted the single most vital natural resource—both as the country’s main form of energy and as the essential ingredient of buildings, tools, and transportation on land and sea—the question of who would control access to France’s forests and for what ends was a matter of critical social, political, and economic importance. Drawing on research she conducted for her first book, Forests in Revolutionary France: Conservation, Community, and Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Matteson will discuss the rising tensions between customary modes of woodland management, state conservation initiatives, and the growing demands of industry. These conflicts not only influenced French rural politics in the revolutions of 1789 and 1848; they also informed later environmental policymaking around the globe and continue to shape France’s physical landscape in the present day.

Fall 2014

The theme for the Fall 2014 History Workshops was “Capitalism in Crisis: Development, Sustainability, & Inequality in Global Perspective.” We live in a world confronting renewed conflict over access to natural resources, dramatic fluctuations in the international capitalist system, ongoing debates about the origins of global economic inequality, and heated differences over whether we are witnessing capitalism’s global triumph or decline. The series “Capitalism in Crisis” seeks to provide a forum to discuss these issues and understand them within longer historical trajectories and debates about the economy, society, governance, the environment, and peoples’ struggles to survive.

OCTOBER 3, 2014

Vegas at Odds: Labor Conflict in a Leisure Economy, 1960-1985
Lecturer: Professor James Kraft, Professor of History, UHM Department of History

Professor Kraft’s latest book explores dynamics of the workforce—the casino and hotel workers and their relations with the companies they work for and occasionally strike against. Along the way, the book traces the rise and changing fortunes of organized and unorganized labor as Las Vegas evolved from a small, somewhat seedy desert oasis into the glitzy tourist destination that it is today.

Drawing on scores of interviews, personal and published accounts, and public records, the book brings to life the largely behind-the-scenes battles over control of Sin City workplaces between 1960 and 1985. Describing successful and failed organizing drives, struggles over pay and equal rights, and worker grievances and arbitration the book shows how the resort industry’s evolution affected hotel and casino workers. From changes in the political and economic climate to large-scale strikes, backroom negotiations, and individual worker-supervisor confrontations, Kraft explains how Vegas’s overwhelmingly service-oriented economy works—and doesn’t work—for the people and companies who cater to the city’s pleasure-seeking visitors.

OCTOBER 17, 2014

How Whales Experienced Capitalist Modernity: From Blubber and Baleen to Oceanic Gurus to Ecosystem Service Providers
Lecturer: Professor Frank Zelko, Associate Professor of History, University of Vermont

They might not be aware of it, but whales have been dramatically affected by modernity. Like many animals, their lives are heavily determined by a primate species that has come to dominate the planet. For most of their long history, whales had little interaction with this terrestrial biped and it presented few dangers. In the blink of an evolutionary eye, however, these primates learned to hunt and kill the world’s largest cetaceans in the remotest parts of the world’s great oceans. In more recent decades, however, many of them came to think that this was not such a great idea. Some even felt it was immoral. Frank Zelko will explore the changing attitudes toward whales throughout the past century, focusing in particular on the rise of the anti-whaling movement.

NOVEMBER 7, 2014

From Medicine to Beverage to Art: Technology and Changes in Tea Consumption
Lecturer: Professor Wayne Farris, Professor of History, UHM Department of History

This presentation is part of an attempt to re-write the history of Japanese tea. Conventionally, the history of tea in Japan is synonymous with the story of the “Way of Tea” also known as chanoyu or sadō. While the story is accurate so far as it goes, Professor Farris argues that it fails to provide the agricultural, technological, and commercial context in which the Japanese art of tea developed. Until about 1250, tea was considered a medicine, as exemplified by Drink Tea and Prolong Your Life authored by Yōsai (1141-1215). Beginning in 1250, however, technological changes arising in Song China and imported to Japan by thirsty Buddhist clerics and warriors converted the brown, bitter liquid into a sweeter, more delicious beverage. These technological changes may be documented both in Song China and in late Kamakura Japan through the cache of documents connected to the Kanezawa warrior household. These inventions eventually were responsible for the spread of tea consumption to the commoner populace after 1400. Then, two more technological changes originating in Japan during the sixteenth century, along with the importation of a new strain of Camellia sinensis from Ming China, made the beverage even more palatable. Uji became the area producing the finest tea in Japan and was the preferred tea for the masters of the 1500s. Sen Rikyū’s art is unthinkable without the various technological changes that commenced long before his time.

NOVEMBER 14, 2014

We Sell Drugs: The Alchemy of US Empire
Lecturer: Professor Suzanna Reiss, Associate Professor of History, UHM Department of History

Professor Reiss’s book explores the history of US-led international drug control to provide new perspectives on the economic, ideological, and political foundations of a Cold War American empire. US officials assumed the helm of international drug control after World War II at a moment of unprecedented geopolitical influence embodied in the growing economic clout of its pharmaceutical industry. We Sell Drugs is a study grounded in the transnational geography and political economy of the coca-leaf and coca-derived commodities market stretching from Peru and Bolivia into the United States. More than a narrow biography of one famous plant and its equally famous derivative products—Coca-Cola and cocaine—this book situates these commodities within the larger landscape of drug production and consumption. The book also argues that the legal status of any given drug is largely premised on who grew, manufactured, distributed, and consumed it and not on the qualities of the drug itself. Drug control is a powerful tool for ordering international trade, national economies, and society’s habits and daily lives. In a historical landscape animated by struggles over political economy, national autonomy, hegemony, and racial equality, We Sell Drugs insists on the socio-historical underpinnings of designations of legality to explore how drug control became a major weapon in asserting control of domestic and international affairs.

DECEMBER 2, 2014

Protecting the Pearl of Soviet Asia: Post-War Development, Conservation, & Lake Baikal
Lecturer: Professor Nicholas Breyfogle, Associate Professor of History, Ohio State University

In August of 1958, one of the most visible and successful environmental protection movements in Soviet history exploded onto the public stage in the USSR. In an effort to shield Lake Baikal and its surroundings from the effects of a dramatic post-WWII campaign at industrial development in eastern Siberia, scholars and writers published exposés in both local and all-union newspapers and lobbied behind the scenes for changes in economic development policy. Coming out in advance of Silent Spring, the proponents of Baikal alerted the Soviet public and its leadership to the threats of aggressive industrialization to the natural world. This talk tells the story of Lake Baikal environmentalism and places the Soviet experience into the larger context of the global post-war development of environmentalism. The Lake Baikal movement is a reminder of important environmentalist efforts in the Soviet Union, which show that socialism and environmentalism were not mutually exclusive.

Spring 2014

The theme for our Spring 2014 History Workshop is “Roots & Routes: Mobility, Migration, and Diasporas.” Central to the work on international and global studies are the ongoing debates about hybridity, cosmopolitanism, and indigeneity. “Roots & Routes: Mobility, Migration, and Diasporas” seeks to create a forum for discussions about the formulation and reformulation of transnational identities, circuits, and exchanges created by globalization, colonialism, and cross-cultural encounters. Possible topics might include but are not limited to the biography or prosopography of international actors; migration, collective identity and historical memory; historical formations based on travel, tourism, and trade; colonial interactions and the relations between metropole and periphery; slavery, human trafficking, or other forms of forced migration; or historicizing and theorizing diaspora.

JANUARY 24, 2014

Polynesian Types: The Science of Making Whiteness Indigenous to the Pacific
Lecturer: Dr. Maile Arvin, University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, History of Art and Visual Culture, UC Santa Cruz

Where do Polynesians come from? What does a Polynesian look like? Do real Polynesians still exist? This talk examines the history and contemporary salience of the Polynesian type, a genre of popular and scientific speculation intent on revealing the racial origins and constitution of indigenous Pacific Islanders. First formulated in nineteenth-century social sciences including ethnology and linguistics, drawings, photographs, sculptures and maps of Polynesian types seek to answer the so-called “Polynesian Problem” across a wide range of disciplines, from physical anthropology and sociology to genetics and genomics. Throughout the Polynesian type genre, the Polynesian race is represented as (biologically and culturally) almost white, in stark contrast to other peoples of the Pacific, especially “black” Melanesians. The logic of the Polynesian type genre therefore promotes viewing whiteness in the Pacific as natural, benevolent, and even genetic—and thus, indigenous. This talk analyzes this history of the Polynesian type in order to understand the ways decolonization must undo such racial logics.

FEBRUARY 14, 2014

Briton Hammon and the Sonic Dimensions of Atlantic Communication Networks
Lecturer: Professor Rich Rath, Associate Professor of History, UHM Department of History

Throughout my academic career I have been concerned with roots, then routes when it comes to African culture in the Americas. The narrative of Briton Hammon, an African American from New England who went to sea and had a thirteen year adventure/travail, frustrates that well-worn path, leaving Hammon’s roots a place where speculation will have to suffice. In foreclosing the habitual, however, Hammon offers us a window into the day-to-day workings of plural, multi-tiered communication networks in the Atlantic world.

MARCH 7, 2014

From Highland to Sea: Border-Crossing and Frontier Protest in Qing Dynasty China
Lecturer: Professor Wensheng Wang, Associate Professor of History, UHM Department of History

The last quarter of the eighteenth century witnessed a crescendo of social protests, which rocked China’s last dynasty—the Qing (1644-1911)—and engulfed much of the empire. This paper focuses on the White Lotus rebellion (1796-1805) and south China piracy (1790s-1810), which were the climax to this escalating wave of upheavals. It places the two crises in their frontier contexts, giving centrality to the local, supra-local, or transnational logic of collective action and popular politics. It examines the internal borderland of the Han River highlands (astride the provincial border of Hubei, Sichuan, and Shaanxi) as well as the external maritime frontier of the South China Sea (across the Sino-Vietnamese water world), exploring how fluid ecology and socioeconomic patterns interacted with rigid and weak political establishments to create a sort of nonstate space that precipitated the dual upheavals.

MARCH 21, 2014

Roots of Treatment, Routes of Knowledge: Scurvy in the 18th-Century North Pacific
Lecturer: Professor Matthew Romaniello, Associate Professor of History, UHM Department of History

Finding an effective treatment of scurvy was one of the essential developments for European exploration in the Pacific Ocean. It was no less important a cure for the Russian Empire, which suffered recurring epidemics of the disease throughout its history. Once British doctor, John Cook, treated an outbreak in Riga in the 1730s as a part of his long career in Russia. He provided information from his case study to James Lind, who relied on this outbreak as evidence that land and sea scurvy were in fact one disease in his Treatise on Scurvy (1753). Lind’s study was utilized by James Cook on his voyages across the Pacific to develop the prophylactic treatments (later ‘the Cook method’) that were adopted as standards for the British navy by the end of the eighteenth century. When Adam Johann von Krusenstern and luri Lisianskii led Russia’s first circumnavigatory voyages early in the nineteenth century, they in turn relied upon the scurvy treatments developed in the British navy.

APRIL 4, 2014

How Filipino Veterans Joined the Greatest Generation, 1945-2009
Lecturer: Professor Christopher Capozzola, Associate Professor of History, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences

This talk draws from Brothers of the Pacific, a transnational history of Filipinos in the armed forces of the U.S. and the Philippines from the 1890s to the present. Focusing on the struggle of Filipino World War II veterans during the last seven decades to obtain equal rights of citizenship and veterans benefits, the talk situates the claims of Filipino veterans within a global politics of decolonization and explores the possibilities—and limits—of transnational political activism during and after the Cold War.

APRIL 11, 2014

Fly Hawaiʻi!: Migrations and Vacations in the Jet Age
Lecturer: Professor John Rosa, Assistant Professor of History, UHM Department of History

Barely 80 years old, the history of air travel as a common mode of transportation is often overlooked. This talk examines the post-1959 era when statehood and commercial jets dramatically increased the numbers of migrants and visitors coming to Hawaiʻi.

MAY 2, 2014

History Graduate Student Symposium-Roots & Routes: Mobility, Migration, and Diasporas
UHM Department of History, Moderator: Professor Vina Lanzona

Matt Cavert: Claiming the Frontier: Colonial Resource Law in the French Pacific; Catherine Ulep: Roots and Routes: The Emergence of Multiracial Demographics and Intermarriage in Hawaiʻi from 1800-1850; Uluwehi Hopkins: For the Benefit of Her Race: Emma Nakuina and the Channels of American Empire; Katie Dacanay: Between Ladies’ Home Journal and Liwayway: Competing Representations of Modern Womanhood in the American Colonial Philippines, 1922-1937

Fall 2013

The theme for our Fall 2013 History Workshop is “Roots & Routes: Mobility, Migration, and Diasporas.” Central to the work on international and global studies are the ongoing debates about hybridity, cosmopolitanism, and indigeneity. “Roots & Routes: Mobility, Migration, and Diasporas” seeks to create a forum for discussions about the formulation and reformulation of transnational identities, circuits, and exchanges created by globalization, colonialism, and cross-cultural encounters. Possible topics might include but are not limited to the biography or prosopography of international actors; migration, collective identity and historical memory; historical formations based on travel, tourism, and trade; colonial interactions and the relations between metropole and periphery; slavery, human trafficking, or other forms of forced migration; or historicizing and theorizing diaspora.


Agency, Dependency and Transnational Circulation between Oceania and Pacific Rimlands
Lecturer: Professor David Chappell, Associate Professor of History, UHM Department of History

Migration has been a historical reality in Oceania since the first peopling of its archipelagoes thousands of years ago. From early settlement and ongoing inter-island exchanges to more recent labor recruiting for foreign ships and plantations to the airborne movement of Pacific Islanders today to new frontiers of opportunity stretching from Australia to Oklahoma and beyond, it has posed challenges for scholarly interpretation. Is contemporary migration a sign of economic dependency or indigenous agency or a combination, as the MIRAB (migration, remittances, aid and bureaucracy) acronym suggests? Or perhaps, as Epeli Hauʻofa argued, it’s a sign of continuity with ancestral voyaging traditions? It also raises questions of identity as Pacific Islanders growing up overseas try to connect with homelands and cultures/languages they may not know personally, and in some cases the majority of the “nation” takes up residence overseas, creating new political influences. This presentation will raise such issues, suggest how some scholars have grappled with them, and invite the audience to voice their own opinions, because, to paraphrase a Samoan proverb, migration as a topic of study is like “a slippery fish.”

OCTOBER 4, 2013

Judah I. Abrahams: The ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ of a Georgian Convert and Traveler, or ‘At that, she tore the hair from her head’
Lecturer: Professor Peter Hoffenberg, Associate Professor of History, UHM Department of History

This talk introduces and explores the major events and possible meanings of the life of Judah I. Abrahams (b. 1802), an English convert from Judaism to Protestant Christianity during the 1820s. We will trace his physical, spiritual and social ‘roots’ and ‘routes’ as he moves around and makes connections with other Christians in England and Europe, across the Atlantic, through New England—and back to Europe. What might be the historical and historiographical significance of his self-conscious actions in light of the ways we think about conversion and conversion narratives, modern identity and fulfillment, Anglo-Jewish history, and social networks before ‘Facebook’? Judah’s travels and writings provide a biographical and autobiographical foundation to explore such issues.

NOVEMBER 1, 2013

Black, White, and Red: Remembering China’s Revolution through its Photographs
Lecturer: Professor Shana Brown, Associate Professor of History, UHM Department of History

In the Chinese revolution of the mid-twentieth century, photographs were weapons. They were tools of ideological combat, which allowed major forces and minor voices on both ends of the political spectrum to make a case regarding China’s best political and social path forward. Photographers were fully integrated into the press teams of both the Chinese government and the opposition Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and visual politics remained significant after Communist victory in 1949. Indeed, photographic narratives were central in the mythic narratives of revolution. In the past decade, there has been an intriguing revival of popular appreciation for CCP propaganda photography, now labeled “red photography.” This talk discusses some of the important qualities of Chinese political photography as it was created during the revolutionary era and reflects on recent popularity of red photography.

DECEMBER 6, 2013

Reflections on the World Historical Consequences of Record-Making and Record-Keeping
Lecturer: Professor Fabio López Lázaro, Associate Professor of History, UHM Department of History

In rushing to ensure coverage of the facts, World History textbooks often give a misleadingly even impression (globally speaking) of our record-based historical understanding of the deep-play complexity of events. This talk reflects on three case studies of migration—writ small—which take us from the twelfth-century Mediterranean through seventeenth-century Asia to the twenty-first-century Pacific. It explores how our heuristic standards of judgment relate to the varying types of historical records which we inherit or discover and reveals the world historical possibilities afforded by histoire événementielle evidence, its limitations, and its relationship to professional history.