Published Date

January 1, 2016

Resource Type

For the Classroom


Asian American and Pacific Islander, Indigenous, Labor, Migration, Immigration, & Diaspora, Religion, Social, Women, Gender, & Sexuality

AHA Topics

Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education


Asia, United States

This resource was developed as part of the AHA’s Globalizing the US History Survey project and the Resources for Teaching American and Hawaiian History.  


By Kelli Nakamura

Institution: Kapi‘olani Community College;

Location: Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Year: 2016

Course Description:

This class will explore basic concepts and theories for analyzing dynamics of ethnic group experiences, particularly those represented in Hawai‘i, and their relation to colonization, immigration, gender, problems of identity, racism, and social class. In particular, students will examine the intersection of Asian and Pacific Island cultures with Native Hawaiian culture.

Required books and supplies:

Reader to be purchased by student


Writing Assignments (13 assignments, each worth 5 points): 65 points
Class Discussion (2 points for each class): 35 points
Midterm Examination: 100 points
Final Examination: 100 points
Final Project/Presentation (includes 3-5 page paper): 50 points

Course Requirements/ Readings:

Students must come to class prepared to participate and discuss any questions they have about the lecture and readings. Readings are expected to be completed prior to the day of the lecture. They are assigned to help you understand the material discussed in class. They are NOT optional. Respect for fellow students and an enthusiasm for learning is highly valued in the classroom. Students are not allowed to use their cell phones, listen to MP-3 players/I-pods, text, instant-message, or utilize Facebook or other social networking sites during the lecture or during the quizzes/exams. If an emergency arises, please get the instructor’s consent first otherwise items will be confiscated. If students are caught plagiarizing or cheating (including using prohibited sources of information during an examination such as phones or other electronic devices), at minimum they will be given a zero for the assignment and possibly earn an F for the course. In instructional activities, students are responsible for meeting all of the instructor’s attendance and assignment requirements. Failure to do so may affect their final grade. In communicating with the instructor, please allow forty-eight hours (excluding weekends and holidays) to receive an email response. I will attempt to respond as soon as possible but please remember that other students may also be communicating with me at the same time. In all college-related activities, including instruction, students must abide by the college’s codes and regulations, refraining from behavior that interferes with the rights and safety of others in the learning environment.


Class attendance and participation in discussions are critical. Attendance will be taken within the first fifteen minutes of the class and will be part of your final grade. If students leave class early without explanation, points will be deducted. While I will lecture on background and related materials, it is expected that you will raise questions, share your observations and thoughts with other students, and develop critical thinking in this course. Students will be penalized TWO POINTS for every class missed and students with unexcused absences who “disappear” from the course will be given a grade of F. If there is a reason for your absence, please tell me in advance or bring in some official document (doctor’s note) explaining your absence. Exams/assignments must be made up by the next class period following a student’s return. No late assignments will be accepted without official documentation (doctor’s note). No email assignments will be accepted. Students who exceed the time limit for the examinations will have one point deducted for every minute they go over. All hard copies of assignments must be turned in during the class period.


Week #1: Race and Privilege

Topic: Introduction/ Orientation—What is Ethnic Studies?

Topic: What are “race” and “ethnicity”?
Readings: Omi and Winant, “Racial Formations”; Excerpts from Value of Hawai’i: Knowing the Past, Shaping the Future, John P. Rosa, “Race/Ethnicity”
Annotated Bibliography: While Omi and Winant provide a broad definition for race and ethnicity that has influenced recent scholarship, Rosa (Native Voice) explores issues of race and ethnicity and its implications for people in Hawai‘i living in a diverse society that includes Native Hawaiians, Asians, and Pacific Islanders.
Assignment/Discussion Topic: Explain why Omi and Winant define race as a social construct. What is the difference between “race” and “ethnicity?” Briefly reflect on whether or not your perception of ethnic identity matches with the federally defined racial category that you check off on official forms. The federally recognized categories are: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black or African American, and white. How do these designations compare to the categories defined by the Hawaiian Kingdom (class handout)?

Week #2: Capitalism and Class

Topic: White Privilege and Male Privilege
Readings: McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See the Correspondence through Work in Women’s Studies”; Selections from Haunani-Kay Trask, From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai‘i (University of Hawai’i Press: Honolulu, 1993).
Annotated Bibliography: Mcintosh explores the intersection of gender and class in a short list that asks students to examine these connections in their own lives. Trask (Native Voice) explores aspects of white male privilege in Hawai‘i where gender and race are important factors in understanding the historical experiences of Native Hawaiians, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and others.

Topic: Capitalism, Class, and the Matrix of Domination; Hawai‘i as a Racial Laboratory
Readings: Johnson, “Capitalism, Class and the Matrix of Domination” Excerpts from Jonathan Okamura’s, Ethnicity and Inequality in Hawai’i
Annotated Bibliography: While Johnson provides a framework of analysis for studying the intersections of race and class, Okamura (Native Voice) examines these two issues in the context of Hawai‘i where class is an important factor in understanding the historical experiences of Hawaiians, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and others.
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: What is the relationship between race and racism? Go over McIntosh’s list to identify the institutions that foster white privilege. Do they exist in Hawai‘i?


Week #3: American Missionaries in Hawai‘i

Topic: American Missionaries
Readings: Noenoe Silva, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004). Chapter 1.
Annotated Bibliography: (Native Voice) Silva examines some of the Kānaka Maoli’s early (1778-1854) struggles with foreigners over government and land using texts written by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Kānaka in their own language. She develops several themes in the contests and resistances of the people to colonialism and imperialism.

Topic: Women Understanding Women
Readings: Selections from Patricia Grimshaw, Paths of Duty: American Missionary Wives in Nineteenth-Century Hawai‘i (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1989).
Annotated Bibliography: Grimshaw explores the encounters that occurred between American missionary wives, Native Hawaiian women, and later Asian immigrants that would ultimately transform both societies and historical understandings of each group.
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: How do American missionary wives, Native Hawaiian women, and Asians understand one another? What experiences/preconceptions shape their thinking? What commonalties do they share and what differences exist between them? What role do they play in their respective societies and who is more liberated or enlightened by nineteenth-century standards? By today’s standards?

Week 4: The Politics of Historical Memory and Images of Women and Men in the Pacific

Topic: Portrayals of Native Hawaiians
Readings: “From Point Venus to Bali Ha’i: Eroticism and Exoticism in Representations of the Pacific” edited by Lenore Manderson and Margaret Jolly (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).
Annotated Bibliography: Jolly examines the connections between eroticism, exoticism, and political and military colonization in the Pacific and how this affects contemporary portrayals and understandings of Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Asians.

Topics: Images of the “Other”
Readings: David Stannard, “Recounting the Fables of Savagery: Native Infanticide and the Functions of Political Myth”
Annotated Bibliography: Stannard explores the distortion of Hawai‘i’s history and the myth of native “savagery” that has social and political implications as indigenous people and cultures (Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Asians) become peripheral in their own histories.
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: Please bring in one item/image that you think represents Hawai‘i and its people (Native Hawaiians, Asians, Pacific Islanders) in a stereotypical manner.

Week #5: American Colonization of Hawai‘i

Topic: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy
Readings: Aloha Betrayed, Chapter 4; Keijirō Nakamura’s article “Hawaiian Annexation from a Japanese Point of View” in Dennis M. Ogawa, Kodomo no tame ni–For the Sake of the Children: The Japanese American Experience in Hawaii (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1980), 39-42.
Annotated Bibliography: (Native Voice) Using Hawaiian language sources, Silva explores the activities that Kānaka Maoli participated in during their vigorous and organized opposition to the annexation of their nation by the United States. (Native Voice) Nakamura explores how the Japanese in Hawai‘i responded to the overthrow and these acts of resistance.

Topic #: Aloha Betrayed, Chapter 5
Annotated Bibliography: (Native Voice) Silva explores the actions of Queen Lili‘uokalani who was the central figure in the struggle against annexation but whose role has not been analyzed much in histories.
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: How has the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy been portrayed in books, schools, or in the media? What is your understanding of the overthrow? Were Native Hawaiians passive (or even accepting) to the events occurring at this time? What were some of the activities that men and women engaged in to resist American imperialism?

Week #6: Asian Migration to Hawai‘i

Topic: Immigrant Women and Hawai‘i
Readings: Carol Fan, “Asian Women in Hawai‘i: Migration, Family, Work, and Identity.” NWSA Journal 8:1 (Spring 1996): 70-84.
Annotated Bibliography: Asian women faced new challenges and responsibilities upon arriving in Hawai‘i as many sought to create a new life through work. Fan (Native Voice) examines some of the challenges Asian women faced in constructing a new identity in multicultural/multiethnic Hawai‘i as they encountered different groups including Native Hawaiians.

Topic #: Issei Women’s Oppression and Autonomy
Readings: Kelli Y. Nakamura, “Yeiko Mizobe So and the Domestic Abuse of Japanese Picture Brides.” Amerasia 36:1 (2010): 1-32.
Annotated Bibliography: While Asian women established new lives in Hawai‘i, many also sought greater personal opportunities by divorcing abusive husbands thereby challenging predominant stereotypes of Asian women as quiet and submissive. Nakamura explores some of the challenges faced by immigrant women who encountered missionary women and other ethnic groups in multi-cultural Hawai‘i.
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: What were some of the reasons Asian women came to Hawai‘i? What were their experiences? In which ways were they empowered or oppressed?

Week #7: Asian Women and Labor

Topic: Video “Picture Bride” (1995)
Annotated Bibliography: Picture Bride is a 1995 feature-length independent film directed by Kayo Hatta from a screenplay she co-wrote with Mari Hatta, and co-produced by Diane Mei Lin Mark and Lisa Onodera (Native Voices). It follows Riyo, who arrives in Hawai‘i as a “picture bride” for a man she has never met before. The story is based on the historical practice, due to U.S. anti-miscegenation laws, of (mostly) Japanese and Korean immigrant laborers in the United States using long-distance matchmakers in their homelands to find wives.

Topic: “Picture Bride” (1995) Continued
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: What does the video reveal about gender and race relations on the plantations? Describe the relationship between Japanese men and women, among Japanese women, and between Japanese women and other races (Native Hawaiians/whites).

Week #8:

Topic: Midterm Examination Review

Topic: Midterm Examination


Week #9: Plantation Labor and Resistance

Topic: Plantation Labor
Readings: Ronald Takaki, Pau Hana, “A New World of Labor: From Siren to Siren”
Annotated Bibliography: (Native Voice) Takaki explores the transformation of labor practices in Hawai‘i with the arrival of Asian migrants who were controlled by paternalistic planters who sought to exploit the profitability of these laborers. Takaki describes race relations on the plantations as different ethnic groups (Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Native Hawaiians, Filipino, Koreans, and Japanese) interacted with one another for the first time.

Topic: Plantation Resistance
Readings: Takaki, Pau Hana, “Contested Terrain: Patterns of Resistance,” Gary Okihiro, Cane Fires, “Into the Cold Night Rain”
Annotated Bibliography: (Native Voices) Takaki and Okihiro explore ways in which laborers (Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Native Hawaiians, Filipino, Koreans, and Japanese) resisted their exploitation on plantations in Hawai‘i; however this resistance became the basis of anti-Asian sentiment that culminated in internment during World War II in Hawai‘i.
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: Did workers passively accept their treatment? How did race and class affect their experience? With whites? With each other?

Week #:10: World War II: Race War

Topic: Overview of World War II

Topic: Double V: Japanese Americans during World War II
Readings: Ronald Takaki, (Excerpts) Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II
Annotated Bibliography: During World War II, Japanese Americans soldiers (from Hawai‘i and the mainland) faced the challenge of fighting racism abroad and at home (that had resulted in internment). Takaki (Native Voice) analyzes some of the racial challenges that Japanese Americans experienced during and after the war with whites and other ethnic groups (Native Hawaiians, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Portuguese).
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: Why is World War II often called a “race war”? How did race affect the experience of minorities in America? In Hawai‘i?

Week #11: World War II Hawai‘i

Topic: Double V: African Americans during World War II
Readings: Beth Bailey and David Farber, “The ‘Double-V’ Campaign in World War II Hawaii: African Americans, Racial Ideology, and Federal Power.” Journal of Social History 26:4 (Summer 1993): 817-844; Excerpts from: An Era of Change: Oral Histories of Civilians in World War II Hawai‘i
Annotated Bibliography: While Bailey and Farber explore the racial prejudice that African American servicemen experienced in the armed forces, oral histories (Native Voices) capture some of the personal experiences and encounters that occurred between African Americans and locals (Hawaiians, Japanese, Filipinos) in Hawai‘i during World War II.

Topic: Military Personnel, Prostitution, and Hawai‘i
Readings: Selections from Beth Bailey and David Farber, The First Strange Place: Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii
Annotated Bibliography: The arrival of a large number of military personnel (white, African American, Hispanic) transformed race relations and gender relations as prostitution flourished in Hawai‘i during World War II. Bailey and Farber explores issues of race, class, and gender that occurred between locals (Hawaiians/Asians) and military men with the advent of widespread prostitution in the Islands.
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: How did the arrival of newcomers (African Americans/White military personnel) transform race relations? What was their experience in Hawai‘i during World War II? How was their experience shaped by preexisting racial attitudes?


Week #12: Women’s Issues in the Present

Topic: Mail Order Brides and Human Trafficking
Readings: Venny Villapando, “The Business of Selling Mail-Order Brides” from Making Waves: an Anthology of Writings by and About Asian American Women
Annotated Bibliography: Villapando (Native Voice) explores the spread of the practice of mail-order brides that continues to occur in Hawai‘i and involve predominantly Asian females.

Topic#: Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS) Director Kathryn Xian
Annotated Bibliography: (Native Voice) Director Xian will present some of the issues that surround the exploitation of local and Asian women who have become victims of human trafficking that occurs in Hawai‘i. It is an issue critical to all communities in Hawai‘i and affects women of all ethnicities including Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Asians.
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: Bring to class information regarding a contemporary issue facing Native Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Islander women in Hawai‘i. What makes this a Native Hawaiian, Asian, or Pacific Islander issue? How is this issue relevant for the entire community? Why is it important? Are there historical continuities and what political, social, economic dynamics shape this issue?

Week #13: Polynesian Masculinities and Performance

Topic: Polynesian Masculinities
Readings: Ty Kāwika Tengan, “(En)gendering Colonialism: Masculinities in Hawai‘i and Aotearoa”
Annotated Bibliography: While Asian and Pacific Islander women are often portrayed as highly feminized/sexualized, indigenous men face different challenges and stereotypes. Tengan (Native Voice) explores masculinities in Hawai‘i and the Pacific.

Topic #: Masculinity in Performance
Readings: Ty Kāwika Tengan, Jesse Makani Markham, “Performing Polynesian Masculinities in American Football: From ‘Rainbows to Warriors’”
Annotated Bibliography: (Native Voice) Tengan explores Polynesian masculinities that have often become defined by images in sports.
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: Please bring in one item/image that you think represents Hawaiian or Pacific Islander men. What stereotypes exist and are they empowering images or negative ones?

Week #14: Images of Women and Men in the Pacific (Con’d)

Topic: Dog the Bounty Hunter (clips), Hawaii Five-O (clips), Fifty First Dates (clips)
Annotated Bibliography: Many observers have criticized these shows as promoting negative stereotypes of Asians/Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders who live and interact with one another in multicultural Hawai‘i. We will explore what images the media promotes of these different groups.

Topic: Momiala Kamahele, “A Nation Incarcerated,” from Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai’i; OHA Fact Sheet, “The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System”
Annotated Bibliography: Although media images may seem harmless they can reflect social trends among different racial groups. Kamahele (Native Voice) examines the predominance of Native Hawaiians in the criminal justice system and compare that to OHA statistics. How does that relate to other ethnic groups and in particular with Asians communities in Hawai‘i? (current statistics will be provided by the instructor).
Writing Assignment/Discussion Topic: How are Native Hawaiians still portrayed today in the national media? How are Asians and other ethnic groups in Hawai‘i (including Pacific Islanders)? What are the implications of such portrayals? Are they accurate and what is the reality?

Week #15: Contemporary Issues of Race, Class, and Gender in Hawai‘i

Topic: Class Presentations
Annotated Bibliography: Student will present a class project that address issues of race, class, and gender in Hawai‘i that incorporates native voices (Native Hawaiians, Asians, Pacific Islanders) and perspectives (Native Voice)

Topic: Class Presentations
Annotated Bibliography: Student will present a class project that address issues of race, class, and gender in Hawai‘i that incorporates native voices (Native Hawaiians, Asians, Pacific Islanders) and perspectives (Native Voice)
*3-5 Page Paper Due on Presentation Topic

Week #16:

Topic: Final Examination Review

Topic: Final Examination