Monica C. LaBriola

Monica LaBriola

Assistant Professor
Pacific Islands, Micronesia, Ethnographic History

Office: Sakamaki B417
Phone: (808) 956-7675

PhD Hawaiʻi 2013



Monica C. LaBriola is an assistant professor of Pacific Islands History, a 2017 recipient of the Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and incoming associate editor of The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs. Dr. LaBriola has lived and worked in the Marshall Islands, Hawai‘i, Switzerland, Mexico, California, and Ohio. As an undergraduate, she attended the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with a major in Peace and Conflict Studies. After college, she worked for three years as a volunteer teacher at Fr. Leonard Hacker High School (formerly Queen of Peace High School) and Ebeye Public Elementary School in the Marshall Islands. Dr. LaBriola came to Hawai‘i in 2004 to pursue a Master of Arts in Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her MA thesis, Iien Ippān Doon: Celebrating Survival on an ‘Atypical’ Marshallese Atoll, looked at how displaced communities on Ebeye Island in Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands use expressions of culture including birthday parties (keemem) to celebrate survival despite ongoing legacies of U.S. militarism. Dr. LaBriola went on to pursue a PhD in Pacific Islands History, also at UH Mānoa. Her dissertation, which she is currently reworking as a book, applies an interdisciplinary, ethnographic approach in exploring the circumstances that prompted a Marshallese chief to sell Likiep Atoll to a Portuguese copra trader in 1877. Tentatively titled Replanting Likiep: The Genealogy of a Marshallese Copra Plantation, the manuscript is expected to be published by the Pacific Islands Monograph Series in 2021. Before joining the UH Mānoa Department of History in 2019, Dr. LaBriola taught Pacific Islands, American, and world history at the University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu. From 2016-2019, she served as editor for the Center for Pacific Islands Studies series, Teaching Oceania, which produces thematic, interactive, multimedia course materials for undergraduate Pacific Islands Studies students across Oceania.


Representative Publications

“Planting Islands: Marshall Islanders Shaping Land, Power, and History, The Journal of Pacific History 54:2 (2019)

“Marshall Islands Political Review,” 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, The Contemporary Pacific 31:1 (2019)

Co-Author, “Militarism and Nuclear Testing in the Pacific,” Teaching Oceania Series, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (2018, 2016)

Review, Breaking the Shell: Voyaging from Nuclear Refugees to People of the Sea in the Marshall Islands by Joseph Genz, The Journal of Pacific History (2019)