Fall 2024

Kānaka Maoli and Asians in Hawai'i

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-212  |  Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies, as AAPI-212


Lili M. Kim (Section 01)


Even though Hawai‘i is often referred to as the “Paradise on Earth,” the history of Hawai‘i is rife with the legacies of imperial ambitions of the United States.  This course examines the history of US occupation of Hawai‘i as a case study of US imperialism.  We will examine the history of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the independent Hawaiian Kingdom, the subsequent annexation of Hawai‘i as a US territory, and finally the current status of Hawai‘i as the fiftieth state in the United States.  Topics of discussion include Native Hawaiian resistance to American annexation, indigenous land struggles and continued US military expansion after annexation, Asian sugar plantation laborer settlers in Hawai‘i, revitalization of Hawaiian language, and contemporary Native Hawaiian sovereignty movements for self-determination. Students will engage with a variety of primary sources (court cases, protest songs, memoirs, letters) and secondary sources (scholarly books, articles, documentaries, films) to critically examine global geopolitics and economic interests that fueled US imperialism in Hawai‘i as well as to understand historical and contemporary manifestations of Kānaka Maoli self-determination and Asian settler solidarity. Students in this course will receive priority for the Hampshire College’s Jan-term field course, “Malama ‘Aina:  Sustainability, Settler Colonialism, and Native Hawaiian Struggle for Self-Determination.” 

Limited to 25 students.  Fall semester.  Visiting Professor Kim.


How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to students majoring in American Studies.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: students will develop critical reading and analytical writing skills through engaging with both primary and secondary sources, thereby understanding the process of historical research and writing. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions based on reading materials. Students will work collaboratively in small groups as well as individually for presentations and written assignments.

Course Materials


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023, Fall 2024