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.
FEBRUARY 13, 2019
“Denying the Stolen Generations: What Happens to Indigenous History in a Post-Truth World?”
Benjamin T. Jones, School of History, Australian National University, Canberra
Between 1910 and the 1970 around 1 in 10 Indigenous children were separated from their families in Australia. Collectively known as the Stolen Generations, the stories of removal were not well known until the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in parliament on 26 May 1997. At a popular level, the 2002 film Rabbit Proof Fence dramatized the injustice and racial pseudo-science behind the removals and in 2008 the Rudd government formally apologized to the Stolen Generations. Despite the growing volume of academic literature on the Stolen Generations, the archival records, government reports, and individual stories, sections of the media have sought to either downplay or outright deny its historicity. In 2009, right-wing polemicist Keith Windshuttle published the third volume of his Fabrication of Aboriginal History and argued in conspiratorial terms that the Stolen Generations was an invention of left-wing academia. Drawing on tactics familiar to Holocaust deniers, conservative commentator, Andrew Bolt has repeatedly labelled the Stolen Generations a ‘myth’. Historical revisionism is not a new concept but a post-truth world, where feelings and more important than facts in shaping public opinion, provides especially fertile soil for alternative narratives. This paper will explore the intersection of Indigenous history and politics and examine how the post-truth environment fosters denialism.
MARCH 6, 2019
“‘Recruit the Women:’ The Life and Career of Lt. Ethel B. Weed in Post WWII Japan, 1945-1953”
Prof. Malia McAndrew, John Carroll University
Prof. McAndrew will discuss the experiences of Lt. Ethel Weed, among the first American women to implement U.S. foreign policy and military strategy. Weed served as a Women’s Army Corps officer in occupied Japan where she worked closely with Japanese feminists to “encourage in every way possible the democratic organization of women.” The talk will focus on Lt. Weed’s efforts to promote women’s rights in Japan and discuss the obstacles she faced as one of the first American women to serve in the United States military. Prof. McAndrew is the author of articles and reviews on race and gender in Japan and the United States.
APRIL 4, 2019
“Genocide, Nationalism and Forgetting”
Prof. Thomas W. Laqueur, Helen Fawcett Distinguished Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley Department of History
Prof. Laqueur will explore modern and contemporary questions of genocide, nationalism and forgetting by studying the history of the Jewish Cemetery in Thessaloniki, Greece, from before the Great War through last year. That history includes the cemetery’s destruction and the meanings of that desecration in light of Greek, European and Jewish histories and narratives. Laqueur is the author most recently of The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains (Princeton, 2015) and regular contributions to the London Review of Books.
Please join us for the reception after the talk.
APRIL 22, 2019
“How the Past Speaks to the Present: Ben Hecht’s Message to the World Today”
Prof. Julien Gorbach, UHM School of Communications
Prof. Gorbach will discuss the life, work and relevance for today of Ben Hecht, the legendary “Shakespeare of Hollywood.” Hecht was a Chicago crime reporter and a leading Hollywood screenwriter, who played a critical role in history by shattering the American media silence about the Nazi’s Final Solution to “the Jewish Question.” His calls to save “the soul of man” in the 1930s and 1940s continue to ring true in today’s world. Prof. Gorbach is most recently the author of The Notorious Ben Hecht: Iconoclastic Writer and Militant Zionist (Purdue University Press, 2019).
SEPTEMBER 26, 2018
“Testimony, Truth, and the Future”
Ellen G. Friedman, Professor of English, College of New Jersey
Please join us for a discussion of the following challenging questions: Are Holocaust survivor video testimonies closer to the truth than memoirs, fiction, or documentaries? What factors affect the version of the truth with which we are presented? How do we preserve Holocaust memories without betraying the people whose memories they are? The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Ellen G. Friedman was born in Kyrgyzstan, a republic of the Soviet Union, within sight of the Tian Shan Mountains, bordering China. Her new book is called The Seven, A Family Holocaust Story. It tells a hidden story of the Holocaust–how Stalin saved Polish Jews from Hitler. Professor of English and Holocaust Studies, she has published 7 books and is on the Faculty Council for the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University.
OCTOBER 17, 2018
“Tropic of Football: The Long and Perilous Journey of Samoans to the NFL”
Prof. Rob Ruck, University of Pittsburgh
Prof. Rob Ruck will discuss his recently published book, “Tropic of Football: The Long and Perilous Journey of Samoans to the NFL.” Why are Samoans so disproportionately represented in the NFL and among the stars of professional football? What do the common images of those players mean and how do such players exemplify not only professional culture, but also the fa’a Samoa, or the way of Samoa? The talk is free and open to the public.
DECEMBER 3, 2018
“The Last Tsar’s Intel and Security Agency”
Vladimir Marinich, Emeritus Prof. of History, Howard Community College
Prof. Marinich will discuss the intelligence and security crises during the last few years of Tsar Nicholas II’s reign. Conflicts among government agencies led to confusion and contributed to the government’s inability to stop the Revolution of 1917. The talk includes rare photos of some of the key players in this political drama. Prof. Marinich translated and provided commentary for The Truth of the Russian Revolution: The Memoirs of the Tsar’s Last Chief of Security and His Wife (2017) and has authored scholarly articles on Russian history.
FEBRUARY 12, 2018
“THIS IS NOT A HISTORY TALK BUT A POETRY READING WITH HISTORY IN IT”
Prof. Susan M. Schultz, UHM Department of English
MARCH 13, 2018
Survivors of the Shoah: Telling our Parents’ Stories
Prof. Daphne Desser, UHM Department of English
APRIL 18, 2018
Narratives by Holocaust Escapees, a Sequel to the History of Jews: Ferrara, Italy
Prof. Luciano Minerbi, Urban and Regional Planning (UHM)
NOVEMBER 2, 2017
Did Speculation in Land Pay Off for British Investors? Buying and Selecting Land in the new Colony of South Australia, 1835-1850
Prof. Edwyna Harris, Monash University Emeritus
Prof. Sumner La Croix, UHM Dept. of Economics
In August 1834, Britain’s Parliament passed the South Australia Foundation Act establishing South Australia as a colony. Despite knowing very little about the quality of land or prospects in the unsettled and unexplored colony, 437 British investors spent £81 each to purchase priority rights to select a surveyed one-acre lot in the new capital city of Adelaide and an 80-acre parcel in the surrounding countryside. The first settlers arrived in South Australia in Fall 1836 but surveying of Adelaide was delayed until February 1837. A lottery in March determined the sequence of lot selection by the 437 investors from 1,042 surveyed lots. The remaining 605 lots were sold, one-by-one, at auction one week later. We consider theoretical models of optimal lot selection and then use an econometric model to examine how characteristics of investors and land lots were associated with early selection and price paid at auction. We then assess the performance of British investors in selecting and purchasing lots in 1837 by comparing their 1837 selection choices and prices paid at auction with assessed value of these lots in 1850. Who was more successful by 1850: those who purchased their lots at auction or investors with priority selection rights? What does that outcome suggest? The talk is co-sponsored by the UH Mānoa Department of History and the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society.
FEBRUARY 21, 2017
Shifting Gears and Paradigms at the Movies: Masculinity, Automobility, and the Rhetorical Dimensions of Mad Max: Fury Road
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.
SEPTEMBER 12, 2016
In Honolulu, Herman Melville Indignantly Views a Lady in a Carriage
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
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?
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.
FEBRUARY 10, 2016
Late-19th Century Science and Empire in the Hawaiian Islands: The Case of Sanford Dole and the Honolulu Social Science Association
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
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.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
‘Missionary of Science:’ Germain Bouchon-Brandely, Science, and Conservation in the Tuamotu Lagoons
Lecturer: Matt Cavert, UHM Graduate Student
OCTOBER 5, 2015
Reconstructing R. L. Stevenson’s Pacific Islands Photographs
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
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
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
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.
JANUARY 21, 2015
War and Diplomacy in the South Pacific, 1914-1919: A Multinational Approach
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
Lecturer: Professor Jonathan Morse, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
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
Lecturer: Professor Peter Hoffenberg, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
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
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
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!
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.
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.
APRIL 30, 2014
Historical Highlights of Hemp Fiber Use: The Case of Eurasia
Lecturer: Professor Mark Merlin, Department of Botany, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
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 Mānoa
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.