Tag Archive for J. Kēhaulani Kauanui
by Olivia Drake •
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, professor and chair of American studies, professor of anthropology, director of the Center for the Americas, delivered three academic presentations in Victoria, Australia in September 2017.
On Sept. 18, Kauanui delivered a lecture titled, “A New Tribe? Hawaiian Sovereignty and the Politics of Federal Recognition,” to the Melbourne Feminist History Group. The talk emerged from her forthcoming book, Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty, which is a critical study of statist Hawaiian nationalism and the implications of its attendant disavowal of indigeneity for the questions of land, gender, and sexual politics. The talk focused on the contestation over indigeneity in both the controversy over a state driven proposal for federal recognition and the sector of the independence movement that aims to restore the Hawaiian Kingdom.
On Sept. 19, she led a workshop for graduate students on “Indigenous Sovereignty and Practicing Decolonization” at the La Trobe University, Bundoora. “The graduate students who attended were from a range of areas, including Pacific studies, history, anthropology – all with a keen interest in Indigenous studies and sovereignty,” Kauanui said.
On Sept. 21, Kauanui delivered a keynote address titled, “Mobilizing Indigeneity: The Politics of Occupation in Settler Colonialism,” for a conference on Space, Sovereignty and Mobility in Settler Colonialism Studies at the La Trobe Art Institute. Conference attendees explored the histories of mobility, space, and transnational, global and local networks, both imperial and Indigenous; and furthered their understanding of connections between sovereignty, survivance and occupation of place.
Kauanui’s travels were sponsored by the Centre for the Study of the Inland at La Trobe University and the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne.
At Wesleyan, Kauanui teaches Indigenous Middletown, Race/Indigeneity and Citizenship, and Global Indigeneities.
by Olivia Drake •
On Oct. 1, Wesleyan students will publicly present their research from the American studies course, Anarchy in America: From Haymarket Riot to Occupy Wall Street, taught by J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, chair and professor of American studies, professor of anthropology. The course focused on anarchism as a political philosophy and practice — a little known, aspect of American culture and society.
Students examined select aspects of anarchist political thought and praxis in the United States and the ways that anarchism has been represented positively, vilified or dismissed. The course explored a range of diverse political traditions including: individualist anarchism, socialist anarchism, anarcha-feminism, black anarchism, queer anarchism, indigenous influences and critiques, and other schools of thought. These presentations – by self-selected students from the class — are based on the final assignment for the course, a research-based political pamphlet. Kauanui will moderate two panels:
10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Historical Genealogies & Radical Analysis
“Free Love, Motherhood, and Spiritism: Reading Anarchy Through the Writings of Luisa Capetillo,” Iryelis López ’17
“Love as Prefigurative Politics,” Sarah Lurie ’17
“Black Feminist Resonances: The Overlaps and Intersections With Anarchist Principles,” Kaiyana Cervera ’19
Noon to 1:30 p.m. Community Resistance and Diverse Forms of Direct Action
“Encrypted But Not Cryptic: An Intro to Crypto Anarchy and Practical Resistance of the Modern Surveillance State,” Kate Pappas ’18
“Threads of Anarchism: A Look at Flint Community Action Amidst a State Crime,” Aura Ochoa ’17
“Power to the People! Energy Democracy and the Socialization of our Energy Infrastructure,” Joshua Nodiff ’19
The presentations will take place at Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Middletown, CT 06457.
by Lauren Rubenstein •
The Hartford Courant reported on a study of the Wangunks, the indigenous people of Middletown and Portland, Conn., by members of a Wesleyan course taught by J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of environmental studies. Eleven students spent a semester in the archives of the Middlesex County Historical Society studying the Wangunks as part of a course on local Native Americans: “Decolonizing Indigenous Middletown: Native Histories of the Wangunk Indian People.” Four of those students presented their research at a March seminar at Russell Library.
According to the story:
The Wesleyan students made use of a number of sources to piece together a comprehensive history of the Wangunk peoples, from their contact in the mid-1600s with the first English settlers of Middletown to the tribe’s gradual disappearance.
Through [Gary] O’Neal — a descendant of Jonathan Palmer, a Wangunk Indian who lived in East Hampton in the early 1800s — the students were able to learn about the tribe’s persistence in the area.
“We wanted to understand who the Wangunk were and what happened to them,” said [Maia] Neumann-Moore [’18], who looked at Wangunk migration patterns after the settling of Mattabessett, or Middletown, by the English in 1650. “It was as if the Wangunk disappeared into the woods. But they were here all along.”
The students found that the settlers were increasingly casual in their references to these Native Americans over time, especially their actual numbers. They said the word Wangunk appears often in 17th century records but far less frequently a century later, when a small band was living across the river on a reservation in Portland, known as Wangunk meadows.
Read the full story here.
by Olivia Drake •
On Dec. 5, Wesleyan students, faculty and the local community gathered for a two-hour discussion on “Indigenous Middletown: Settler Colonial and Wangunk Tribal History.” The event was sponsored by the American Studies Department, the Center for the Americas, and the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life.
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of American studies, coordinated the event, which stemmed from her Service Learning course, Decolonizing Indigenous Middletown: Native Histories of the Wangunk Indian People. The class is in partnership with the Middlesex County Historical Society.
by Olivia Drake •
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of American studies, participated in several conferences and events during the fall semester.
She presented on a roundtable, “Indigenous Sovereignty, Conquest Mythology, And Indian
Policy: Histories and Futures in New England” at the New England American Studies Association Conference held at Roger Williams University, Oct 17-18. She also was an invited participant for a public panel discussion, “Countering Columbus Day,” held at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center on Oct. 25.
Kauanui also presented ongoing research on Palestinian solidarity through participation at two events. First, as an invited speaker at Johns Hopkins University for a Gaza teach-in hosted by the Anthropology Department on Oct. 24 where she spoke on a session about academic boycott as resistance. Second, as an invited speaker at the 4th annual National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference held at Tufts University Oct. 24-26. This year’s theme was “Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism from the US to Palestine,” and Kauanui delivered a talk on the closing plenary session titled “Transnational BDS – Challenges and Dreams Forward.”
In November, Kauanui participated in the annual meeting of the American Studies Association in three capacities: serving a second year as an elected member of the National Council, as an invited presenter for a session on “New Directions in American Studies,” where she was asked to speak about settler colonialism as an analytic; and as a paper presenter on a session on “Formations of U.S. Colonialism,” for which she presenter a paper titled, “Hawaiian National Land and the Colonial Contradictions of Sovereignty.”
In addition, Kauanui continued her work with nine Wesleyan students co-producing a public affairs radio show, Anarchy on Air, through the campus station, 88.1 FM WESU. The show emerged out of her course, “Anarchy in America: From Haymarket to Occupy Wall Street.”
by Olivia Drake •
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology, was a distinguished guest panelist at the 2014 Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in the Humanities Conference at the University of California – Los Angles on March 7. She spoke on “Hawaiian Indigeneity, (Same-Sex) Marriage, and the Racial Politics of Colonial Modernity.”
She also spoke on “Till death Do Us Part? Settler Colonialism and (Same Sex) Marriage in Hawaii,” at the Women’s Studies and Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies on Feb. 20 and “New Directions in American Studies: Settler Colonialism and Critical Indigenous Studies,” at the Circuits of Influence: U.S. Israel, and Palestine Symposium at New York University on March 1.
She’ll speak on “Hawaiian Indigeneity and the Contradictions of Hawaiian Self-Determination,” at Tufts University, March 26 and on “Debt and the Commons: The Historical Present of Property and Indigenous Dispossession” at The Settler Colonial ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ and the Politics of Contemporary ‘Reclamation’” Symposium at Harvard University Law School on March 28.
by Olivia Drake •
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, associate professor American studies, associate professor of anthropology, participated in two recent conferences.
During the Transnational American Studies Conference, held at the Center for American Studies and Research, American University of Beirut, Jan. 6-9, Kauanui co-organized a roundtable on “Pinkwashing and Transnational Alliance: Challenging Settler Colonialism in Palestine/Israel, the United States, and Canada.” She also organized a panel on “Redwashing: Israeli Claims to Indigeneity and the Political Role of Native Americans,” and presented a paper on “The Politics of Recognition: Indigeneity, Sovereignty, and Redwashing.”
During the American Studies Association annual meeting held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 21-14, 2013, she participated in a panel that discussed “Settler Colonial Dispossession in Hawai‘i and the Contested Status of Public Lands.” The panel was part of the Racial Capitalism and Economies of Dispossession Panel Series.
In 2013, she also spoke at three invited talks: “Gender, Sovereignty and Decolonization in the Hawaiian Nationalist Struggle,” at the University of Saint Joseph, Oct. 30; “Nothing Common About ‘The Commons’: Settler Colonialism and the Indigenous Politics of Land Dispossession,” at Brown University, Oct. 9; and “The Enduring Question of Hawaii’s Sovereignty,” at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, on Sept. 30.
by Olivia Drake •
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology, was appointed an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer by the OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program.
In an e-mail to Kauanui, Alan M. Kraut, president-elect of the OAH wrote, “Since 1981, OAH presidents have appointed their most illustrious and dynamic colleagues to our program, making it one of the longest running and most successful efforts of its kind among scholarly associations. It has proven to be an ideal way to reach a broader audience while raising money for the organization’s initiatives on behalf of historians.”
As part of the appointment, Kauanui agrees to give one lecture per academic year for three years, donating those speaking fees to the OAH, and maintain membership in the organization.
“I’m thrilled to have been nominated for this appointment and to accept,” she said.
Kauanui also is also is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society.
by Olivia Drake •
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology, discussed her public affairs radio show on indigenous politics during the 18th Commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
The event was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Aug. 9 and focused on this year’s theme, “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices.” Kauanui was one of four invited panelists who spoke at the commemoration about indigenous media – television, radio, film, and social media – and its role in helping to preserve indigenous peoples’ cultures, challenge stereotypes, and influence the social and political agenda.
The event’s traditional welcome was led by Roberto Múcaro Borrero, Chairperson of the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General; and Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Edward John, the Grand Chief of the Tl’azt’en First Nation in Canada and Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opened the event. Official representatives from the U.K., Mexico, Israel, Sweden, Australia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and more than 20 other countries attended the event, including Chandra Roy-Henriksen, Chief of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
“Panelists were invited to speak about the role of media in raising awareness on the indigenous issues with particular reference to the education on indigenous peoples’ rights as enshrined in the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the realization of the right to self-determination and free, prior and informed consent in terms of the agenda-setting activities, influence over political and decision-making processes and mobilization around crucial issues for indigenous peoples,” she explains.
Her radio show, “Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond” is produced at Wesleyan’s WESU (88.1 FM) and is syndicated through nearly a dozen stations through the Pacifica radio network. Since her show launched in February 2007, Kauanui has featured interviews with indigenous officials, political leaders, activists, scholars, cultural workers and artists about a range of topics exposing Native resistance to settler colonialism. Regarding the name of the show, she explained, “‘from Native New England’ grounds it in this region, where tribal resistance to active erasure and domination is continuous, while the ‘beyond’ in the title allows for ‘global scope’.” In addition, she has featured episodes on the indigenous activism in various parts of Canada, Latin America, Hawai`i, Australia, as well as Aotearoa/New Zealand on themes such a land desecration, treaty rights, political status questions and cultural revitalization. All past episodes are archived online and can be heard here.
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples was first proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (1995). For more information on the proceedings see this link.
by Corrina Kerr •
This issue we feature 5 Questions with… J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology.
Q. How did you become interested in your area of study?
JKK: My area of study is related to researching the history of U.S. imperialism in the Pacific Islands. Researching indigenous issues in Hawai`i, I found it necessary to study how the U.S. government has treated Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) in light of its U.S. federal policy on American Indians and Alaska Natives. The policy is convoluted. The U.S. government has alternately classified Kanaka Maoli, as well as other Native Pacific Islanders under the Asian or “Asian Pacific” category, but since 1906, Kanaka Maoli have also specifically been included in over 160 legislative acts that apply to American Indians. This contradiction has pushed me to better understand U.S. racial formations and indigenous sovereignty politics. This has led me to other research areas, including settler colonialism, self-determination, decolonization, and international law.
Q. What was the most interesting aspect of researching and writing your recent book Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity?
JKK: My book critically examines how “blood racialization” defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable. Blood racialization is the process by which racial meaning is ascribed—in this case to Kanaka Maoli – through ideologies of blood quantum. The contemporary