Strategically located with a multicultural heritage, the state of Hawai‘i has always been uniquely international in outlook. Reflecting this perspective, the School of Pacific and Asian Studies (SPAS), in the College of Arts, Languages & Letters (CALL), represents the ongoing commitment of UH Manoa to enhance international awareness and intercultural understanding throughout the educational experience. In fulfilling this commitment, SPAS has become one of the largest resource facilities for Asian and Pacific studies in the world.
Established in 1987, SPAS consists of eight resource and research units (the Centers for Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, Okinawan Studies, Pacific Islands Studies, Philippine Studies, South Asian Studies, and Southeast Asian Studies) and two academic departments (the Departments of Asian Studies and Pacific Islands Studies). Research supported by SPAS appears in a wide range of journals, monographs, and occasional papers published by its centers. Complementing these publications are monographs, translations, and journals published by SPAS or one of its centers in association with UH Press. Specialized training and instructional programs, conferences, symposia, resources development, and a full schedule of co-curricular activities and cultural programs are all a part of SPAS.
Instructional/Research Facilities and Programs
Center for Chinese Studies
The Center for Chinese Studies (CCS) aims broadly at an increased understanding of contemporary Chinese societies in light of their history and hopes for the future. It pursues this goal through instruction from 50 faculty members in 32 departments who teach approximately 150 Chinese Studies-related courses; research by faculty, who collectively publish an average of six books and a score of articles on greater China each year; service publications, such as its quarterly journal China Review International, which provides an overview of current world wide scholarship in the field of Chinese Studies; a website (manoa.hawaii.edu/chinesestudies); and community outreach, conferences, and national and international linkages with institutions such as Peking University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Zhejiang University, Tongji University, National Taiwan University, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. From 2006-2019, CCS housed a Confucius Institute (CI-UHM), funded by the PRC Ministry of Education to promote Chinese language and culture studies in Hawai‘i, which was named a Model Confucius Institute in 2014. From 2007-2018, CCS hosted an annual STARTALK Chinese Teacher Training Institute and Student Language Camp, funded through annual grants from the Department of Defense. In 2020, CCS hosted the inaugural Hawai‘i International Conference on Chinese Studies on the UH Manoa campus; the second conference was postponed to 2022 due to the covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, CCS celebrates the centennial of its founding by hosting a research project focusing on our history, and a virtual exhibition of this history put together by the Asia Collection. By creating a stimulating environment for the faculty and the approximately 100 mainly graduate students specializing in Chinese Studies, CCS supplements basic scholarly offerings, and focuses attention on the university’s significant resources for the study of greater China. These include the Asia Collection in Hamilton Library, the Wong Audiovisual Center’s collection of Chinese music and film, the Undergraduate Chinese Flagship Program in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, and the National Foreign Language Resource Center in the College of Languages, Linguistics and Literatures and the National Foreign Language Resource Center.
Furthermore, the Centers for Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, and Korean Studies together formed a National Resource Center for East Asian Studies (NRCEA), which is supported by major funding from the U.S. Department of Education. More information about CCS may be found at manoa.hawaii.edu/chinesestudies, and follow us on Instagram @uhawaiiccs. Interested parties may also connect with CCS via Facebook (ccshawaii), Instagram (uhawaiiccs), and YouTube (go.hawaii.edu/T7V.
Center for Japanese Studies
The Center for Japanese Studies promotes the study of Japan within a global context and across academic disciplines at UH Manoa. Japanese studies faculty include 30 professors, 10 Japanese language instructors, 1 library specialist, and a chanoyu (tea ceremony) instructor who, collectively, offer over 100 courses in 16 instructional units to approximately 2,000 students annually. The Dr. Sen Soshitsu International Way of Tea Center is an integral part of CJS perpetuating tea culture by offering tea practicum courses and coordinating tea-related outreach projects. CJS also regularly administers two U.S. Department of Education grants: the National Resource Center East Asia grant which provides funding for curriculum development, outreach activities and library resources for East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Okinawa) across the UH Manoa campus, and The Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship grant, which provides generous scholarships for UH Manoa undergraduate and graduate students who study East Asian languages and area studies. The center coordinates Japanese studies at the university and serves as a clearinghouse for inquiries related to the field. CJS offers other student scholarships and faculty professional development funding, provides student advising, sponsors seminars and conferences on Japan, sponsors visiting scholars, coordinates a summer student internship program in Ehime in partnership with the Japan-America Society of Hawai‘i, and supports several partnerships with overseas research institutes.
Center for Korean Studies
The Center for Korean Studies coordinates and develops UH Manoa’s resources for the study of Korea and Koreans abroad. The 41 faculty members affiliated with the center represent the disciplines of anthropology, music, business, communication and communicology, economics, English, ethnomusicology, history, language and literature, linguistics, law, political science, social work, sociology, and urban planning. The center promotes interdisciplinary and intercultural approaches to the study of Korea. It regularly conducts scholarly conferences, sponsors research projects, offers presentations by distinguished specialists, hosts visiting scholars from other institutions, and publishes monographs and an interdisciplinary journal, Korean Studies. The center also offers scholarships for students engaged in Korea-related studies. It houses a small collection of books, journals, and audio-visual materials as an adjunct to Hamilton Library’s Korea resources. The collection also includes a number of important archival and manuscript collections related to Korean-American relations and the history of Korea and Koreans in Hawai‘i.
Center for Okinawan Studies
The Center for Okinawan Studies (COS) was established in 2008, and has the distinction of being the only center of its kind outside of Japan. COS is a coordinating unit with a mission to promote the study of the Ryukyuan archipelago, Okinawa, and the Okinawan diaspora by encouraging the development and offering of both credit and non-credit courses in the performing arts, history and social sciences, language and culture. COS is committed to supporting the research and teaching of Okinawa/Ryukyu-related subjects by its faculty, staff, and students, as well as providing outreach to the general community in the form of lectures, workshops, seminars, and conferences. COS also works toward strengthening connections and partnerships with people and institutions worldwide including universities in Okinawa, Japan, and the U.S.
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
The Center for Pacific Islands Studies brings together people and resources to promote an understanding of the Pacific Islands and issues of concern to Pacific Islanders. Its innovative instructional program is regional, comparative, and interdisciplinary in nature. After 60 years of offering the nation’s first and only MA program for the study of the Pacific Islands, the center launched a BA program in 2011. The center sponsors an annual conference and a seminar series that features a variety of visitors en route to and from other Pacific Islands. The program publishes a series of occasional papers, the Teaching Oceania Series, and, in collaboration with the UH Press, the Pacific Islands Monograph Series, and The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs.
Center for Philippine Studies
The Center for Philippine Studies at UH Manoa is the only university center offering a comprehensive academic program on Philippine studies in North America. With an interdisciplinary faculty based in various departments, it promotes a broad understanding of Philippine society and culture, including Filipinos in Hawai‘i and in the diaspora, through academic course offerings, library resources, lectures and seminars, scholarly conferences, research and publications, visiting faculty, international exchange programs, cultural presentations, outreach with the Filipino community in Hawai‘i and in the homeland, institutional linkages, and other professional activities. UH Manoa has a large concentration of internationally known Philippine specialists and experts in various disciplines. The center has served as the Secretariat for the International Conference on Philippine Studies (ICOPHIL), and works closely with the Philippine Studies Conference in Japan (PSCJ) held every four and three years, respectively, and with the Philippine Studies Group of the Association for Asian Studies in the U.S. every year. For more details, visit www.hawaii.edu/cps.
Center for South Asian Studies
The Center for South Asian Studies at UH Manoa serves as an intellectual hub in the Pacific for research on and learning about a highly diverse region that encompasses Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Lakshadweep, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. The center was founded in 1985 with the main purpose of promoting interdisciplinary research on South Asia and the diaspora, as well as assisting undergraduate and graduate students in the humanities, arts, language and linguistics, social sciences, business, and applied sciences to focus on the societies and cultures of the region. The center’s activities include colloquia, invited lectures and workshops, an annual spring symposium, cultural education, and community building. For this, the center works together with universities around the world, as well as local institutions, such as the Honolulu Museum of Art and Shangri La. The center also facilitates study and research abroad for undergraduate and graduate students. The library’s South Asia collection is ranked among the top ten in the U.S. The center draws on the expertise of more than 40 distinguished faculty members whose research interests spread over many geographical regions and disciplinary foci. For more information, visit www.hawaii.edu/csas/, and follow CSAS on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UHCSAS/), Twitter (twitter. com/UHCSAS), and Instagram (@csasuhmanoa) to receive job alerts and event announcements.
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
The Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) acts as a coordinating body for Southeast Asian studies throughout UH Manoa. With more than 50 affiliated faculty members distributed through 21 departments, the center interacts with the largest concentration of Southeast Asia specialists in the U.S. The objective of CSEAS and its affiliated faculty is to promote educational and cultural awareness of Southeast Asia, its diverse peoples, religions, history, economics, geography, art, cultures, science, and politics.
Based on the strength of the program, the Center has been given Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) Southeast Asia status by the U.S. Department of Education, one of only eight NRC-SEA in the country. This distinction comes with a yearly federal grant to support program development and fund top students studying Southeast Asian languages (Indonesian, Khmer (Cambodian), Tagalog (Filipino), Thai, and Vietnamese) at UH Manoa. Academic year 21-22 also marks the beginning of a 5-year project with Luce Foundation support of a joint UH Manoa/EWC project titled LuceSEA Transitions: Environment, Society, and Change. This initiative will address how socio-economic and political shifts are transforming Southeast Asia (SEA) societies in a time of accelerated climate and environmental change.
More information on the UH Manoa Center for Southeast Asian Studies can be found at cseashawaii.org.
Campus Events and Community Programs
SPAS and its centers sponsor lectures, colloquia, teacher workshops, conferences, film festivals, concerts, and special events, such as the Grand Kabuki performance, Chinese martial arts performances, and the Southeast Asian Wayang Listrik theatrical training and performance. The centers’ outreach programs take UH Manoa expertise into the community and K-12 schools.