Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Meena Alexander

Committee Members

Kandice Chuh

Glenn Petersen

Subject Categories

Asian American Studies | Indigenous Studies | Literature in English, Anglophone outside British Isles and North America | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority


Hawai'i, Asian American, Asian Settler Colonialism, Territory of Hawaii


This project reclaims a history of anti-colonial discourse and collaborations among Asian settlers and Native Hawaiians between 1887-1959 in Territorial Hawai‘i, drawing from archival works, including King David Kalākaua’s poetry, correspondence, and speeches regarding the Hawaiian monarch’s responsibilities toward Asian laborers, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole’s speeches about Hawaiian land rights and Asian farmers, and texts written by local Asian authors of the early 20th century, including Fred Kinzaburō Makino, Takie Okumura, James T. Hamada, Wai Chee Chun, and Noboru Itamura. Through this recovery of texts, I show how the racialization of Native Hawaiians and Asian immigrants by the U.S. territorial government obscured the denial of citizenship, state recognition, and civil rights. By bringing together legal, historic, and poetic texts in which authors confront the legacies of imperialism, this project tracks the development of an anti-colonial community through 1) the translation of language and transculturation of texts, 2) the circulation of mo‘olelo (stories) and histories, and 3) claims on land based on genealogy and labor relations.