"Local Sightings/Citings" has been an exciting project at The Center for Teaching Excellence, OFDAS since its inception, and the receipt of the Educational Improvement Fund (EIF) from the Office of the President of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, to support its realization, has been a privilege for the project researchers. We felt from the start that EIF and the project were an appropriate match. As such, EIF support for this project will be followed by a commitment on the part of the researchers that this project will continue to grow beyond the parameters of the funding. Indeed, "growth beyond" began as we worked during this funding period.
It was our purpose from the beginning to develop a project that would focus on a specific period of time in the history of Hawai'i that has not been closely studied in the classrooms at UH Manoa; for that purpose, we chose the early Territorial period, from 1898 - 1933. For that period, we have located primary sources, textual and graphic, which can be integrated into the teaching manual and onto website construction in ways that permit the user of these to locate specific and useful resources and to evoke questions and interest in the user/viewer/teacher/student. Because our materials are primary, they are not "already known" or "already seen" and so when one encounters them, one is left with more than having found out something not-yet-known. Part of the lure of these materials is that they throw into question much of what has passed as conventionally known about the complex history of Hawai'i.
Our objective in the project has been to evoke questions and the desire to extend one's questioning. The organization of the project components, including the bibliography in which topics/categories are the organizing principle, as well as our selection of the period of time and the highly interactive nature of our focus groups and workshops, all work toward the goal of raising questions and engendering in the users/viewers of the materials a desire to take seriously the challenge to seek further into the sources that we have, and to recover and rediscover the history of this place. In so doing, the implications for higher education practice at Manoa (and perhaps at other campuses in the future) will be expanded both in terms of content taught and in terms of teaching practices in which both teacher and student become researchers of one's own home place. This combined goal of bringing both teacher and student together as joint researchers emerges from the history of what it means to be both "teacher" and "student" at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.
Hawai'i relationships are very much contextualized by a small land-mass, an island chain which defines the relations between people (and therefore, relations of knowledge) as circular or web-like, reciprocal, and in continual return -- rather than on a landmass that extends in straight lines and ever-outward and away. The expanses of water that appear to separate Hawai'i communities, islands, and peoples is in social reality just that, an appearance. And so, the expanses of ocean between islands, and the vast expanses of ocean between Hawai'i and other places, function not to separate, but to bind peoples together, perhaps precisely because of distance. Certainly water-bound Hawai'i has had its own markings and re/markings historically, but there is a very strong history of community building through social and familial alliances "as members of an extensive and untangled net which represents security and coherence" (P. Hopkins, "Contemporary Hawaiian Culture Workshop Notes," unpublished, Honolulu, 1992). This history contributes to a deep local knowledge that permeates local social practice, not hidden from sight but in full and lively articulation. The circularity and reciprocity of that extensive and untangled net creates throughout the institutions of higher education in Hawai'i the very strong sense of one's mission to educate primarily generations of the children of Hawai'i, and secondarily, those of other Pacific Island communities/nations.
It is for this reason that it is critical that those who study and those who teach here in the UH system are enabled in their efforts to do critical, historical, sociological research related to Hawai'i. Doing so means being able to find resources that will take the new researcher and/or the new resident beyond the highly circulated, highly conventional narratives of what is taken to be the history of this place, this host community to the University. And who is it that occupies the role of student or new researcher at UH? First-time students by geographic location are overwhelmingly from Hawai'i public and private schools (a combined 92.9%) (UH EEOAA 1994-95) and therefore are representative of a stunning range of Asian and Pacific ethnic local diversity: Asian/Pacific 76.4% (Japanese 25.8%, Chinese 12.3 %, Filipino 9.2%, Hawaiian 7.0%, Korean 3.4%, East Indian, Mixed & Other Asian/Pacific 18.7%); Caucasian 21.8%, Hispanic 1.0%, African American .8% (See UH EEOAA 1994-95). Class and economic status are not specifically articulated in these statistics (although our experiences as teachers reveal that they are -- see UH EEOAA 1994-95), but configurations of ethnicity and class have been extensively and historically determined through the plantation system of labor and immigration. That history inhabits the present through the great numbers of students at Manoa, and indeed across the UH campus system on all islands, whose knowledge of the plantation derives directly from the life experience of their grandparents. The era of the plantation in Hawai'i has passed, but its intersecting social constructs of ethnicity, gender, and class remain and are present in the classrooms at Manoa. (See K. Kane, In Celebration of Students: Reflections on Learning at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Center for Teaching Excellence, Office of Faculty Development and Academic Support, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Fall 1992.)
In comparison to statistics on student population at Manoa campus, statistics on faculty at UH are quite reversed. 1994-95 University of Hawai'i at Manoa EEOAA statistics indicate that 69.6% of faculty are Caucasian, 29.0% Asian/Pacific (12.7% Japanese, 10.1% Chinese/Korean, 1.1% Filipino, 1.7% Hawaiian, 3.4% East Indian, Mixed & other Asian/Pacific), .8% Hispanic, .3% African American and .3% Native American. When community colleges are included in the figures, a somewhat more representative picture emerges. In the fall of 1998, faculty across the entire higher education system were 58% Caucasian, 19% Japanese, 10% Chinese/Korean, 4% Hawaiian, 2% Hawaiian, 2% Filipino, and 7% Other (University of Hawai'i Fact Sheet, 1998). What these statistics suggest is what is already known, that most undergraduate students at UH are from Hawai'i, and most faculty arrive from elsewhere. In other words, most new researchers are young local students with a great deal of conventional knowledge about Hawai'i, and most faculty have done research, but are new residents and have little or no knowledge of the history of this place. Students and faculty have much to learn from one another, and this project is compelled by a desire to make that collaboration possible, so that they can gain greater depths of understanding and methods of entry into a vast reservoir of historical and contemporary documents. This project assumes that interest is there on the part of students and teachers, and so the focus of this project is on the nature of the inquiry itself, and the methods by which it can be done. As such, the following is now available:
website access (with on-going construction, updating and
inclusion of continuing materials and dialog).
publication of a teaching manual to be used by be used by faculty in teaching students.
focus group discussions with faculty, librarians, graduate students in discussion about the content and use of these materials through the website, exhibits, and teaching manual.
workshops with up to 60 faculty from selected departments such as American Studies, Political Science, English, Women's Studies, to familiarize and utilize the website, exhibits and manuals as a part of their courses.
presentation at TA Trainings each semester at the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), to orient new and continuing TAs to use of materials through website and teaching manual with the bibliography.
primary exhibit at UH Hamilton Library for the month of February 2000, with a special focus on African Americans in Hawai'i in conjunction with Black History Month with the assistance of Professor Emeritis Miles Jackson.
Although we speak of the above as "completions," we certainly see our commitment to this project as very long-term. By nature, a website that is also interactive must be updated and maintained. Through on-going orientation of faculty and students and their use of these materials, the project will grow in scope as well as in numbers using the specific materials. Because the project acts as a model for what can be done in the classroom by looking at a specific period of time in Hawai'i history, it expands easily and well to any other period or thematics determined by faculty and students in any department.
Christine Kirk-Kuwaye and Lori Pierce, Principle
Lynn Davis, Preservation Librarian
Kathleen O. Kane, Principle Investigator