PhD Student Spotlight

Shirley E. Buchanan

Buchanan-ShirleyResearch Interests: I am a doctoral student in American history, focusing on the connections between Native Americans and Native Hawaiians in the nineteenth century. I am particularly interested in learning how indigeneity and gender shaped U.S. federal policies in this period, setting patterns and creating legacies that reverberate in America today. I am also a lecturer for the Department of Women’s Studies here at UH Mānoa and currently serve as the Graduate President of Alpha Beta Epsilon, the UH Mānoa chapter of Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society.

>> Shirley’s Curriculum Vitae

Terava Kaʻanapu Casey

I am a Kānaka Maoli and Paʻumotu PhD scholar studying Pacific and Hawaiian Histories, and currently serve as a World History Teaching Assistant in the History Department. My M.A. thesis in Pacific Islands Studies (Hawaiʻi, 2016) considered cultural festivals such as the Heiva as the site for contemporary identity and community making for overseas Māʻohi, the indigenous peoples of French Polynesia, in Hawaiʻi. I plan to pursue these cross-cultural dialogues as a way to understand regional issues of migration, globalization, representation, indigeneity and community formation between Hawaiʻi and French Polynesia beginning in the 19th century. My husband and I have three children and are from Hauʻula, Koʻolauloa, Oʻahu.

Susan Corley

My major field of study is 19th century Hawaiian history. Hawaiians reconstituted governance structures as political ideologies evolved and authority shifted to the printed word. I will track 19th century Hawaiian language print production and consumption of political knowledge in order to trace governance changes.

Lee English

I specialize in the cultural, political, and economic interactions between various cultures throughout history. I am especially interested in maritime interaction, as the ocean provided a space outside the control of traditional power structures.

Tomoko Fukushima

My primary research interest is ancient Germanic and Japanese warriors. I co-authored with Dr. Michael P. Speidel on the book, Dawn of Japan, which was published in 2010.

Tokikake (Toki) Ii

My research interests revolve around U.S.-Japanese cultural and diplomatic history. More specifically, I’m researching on the collective memory, victimhood narrative of the atomic bombings and the Pacific War, as well as the post-war nuclear and nuclear-power-plant culture. As my peripheral interests, I also examine representation of the memory and culture in general in media, museums, archives, and educational institutions.


>> Toki’s Curriculum Vitae
Toki’s LinkedIn Page

Aaron Rom Olimba Moralina

Moralina-AaronMy research interests focus generally on issues of science and technology, modernization, and development in Southeast Asia. For my Ph.D. dissertation, I will investigate how public health and medicine became crucial sites wherein the United States deployed its power in the Philippines and Indonesia after the Second World War. I will look into these two countries’ experiences in implementing vertical public health programs—i.e., intensely focused, highly intrusive top-down interventions—that received large amounts of financial and technical assistance from U.S. federal agencies, American philanthropic groups, and international health organizations.

>> Aaron’s Curriculum Vitae
Aaron’s Academia Page

Rob York

York-RobMy primary research interest is in surveillance and punishment in North Korea, as well as human rights discourse and diplomacy. Secondary interests include corporate governance in South Korea as well as its alternative music scene.



>> Rob’s Curriculum Vitae
>> Website (Chief Editor)


Recently Graduated

Brandon Tachco

Tachco-Brandon-picMy fields of study are World History, Environmental History, Modern Southeast Asia, and Modern Europe. My research interests include nineteenth-century state and corporate imperialism, colonialism, resource extraction, ships, maritime spaces, and territoriality.

PhD 2018

Brian T. Alofaituli

Alofaituli-Brian-picMy dissertation examines the role of the London Missionary Society (LMS) Samoan church during two popular protest movements in Samoa, namely the Mau a Pule under German colonial rule and the Mau movement during New Zealand occupation. Using material gathered from various archives and from interviews, I plan to address perspectives from both foreign and native LMS church leaders.


PhD 2017

Alex Holowicki

Holowicki-Alex-picHeeding an interest in World History and American History, my research explores film as an instrument of peacekeeping and international understanding during the interwar years.



PhD 2017

A.P.J. Witten

Research Interests: Eighteenth and nineteenth-century agricultural treatises in Britain, France and Japan in environmental and technological contexts.

PhD 2017

Hieu Phung

Phung-HieuOriginally trained in Classical Chinese and the Vietnamese Nom script, I am interested in examining how Classical Chinese values took shape not only in Chinese history but also in non-Chinese societies like Vietnam. I am now working on a dissertation entitled “Human Perceptions of the Environment in Vietnam, 1400-1900.” In addition to premodern history of Vietnam and China, my research interests include transnational and interdisciplinary approaches to history, such as world history and environmental history.

PhD 2017
>> Hieu’s Curriculum Vitae

Robert A. Findlay

Findlay-RobertMy research interests include world history, modern East and Southeast Asian history, and US foreign policy during the twentieth century. Tentatively titled “Captivating Hearts and Minds: The United States Information Agency’s Cultural Cold War in Asia, 1945-1970,” my dissertation examines US government attempts to shape and direct cultural practices in Asia while bolstering the economic, political, and military power of the United States.

PhD 2016
>> Robert’s Curriculum Vitae
Robert’s Academia Page