‘O nā Kumu akua a pau i hānau ‘ia i ka pō i ka lā hiki ku
Ea mai ke kai mai
‘O nā Kumu ali‘i a pau i hānau ‘ia i ka pō i ka lā hiki ku
Ea mai ke kai mai
‘O nā lālā ali‘i a pau i hānau ‘ia i ka pō i ka lā hiki kū
Ea mai ke kai mai
‘O nā wēlau ali‘i a pau i hānau ‘ia i ka pō i ka lā hiki kū
Ea mai ke kai mai
‘O nā pua ali‘i a pau,
E ku, e ola
A kau a kaniko‘o, pala lau hala a haumaka ‘iole kolopupū ē
O original gods born in the pō (darkness, beginning of time, remote
antiquity) where the sun rises
Rise up out of the sea
O original chiefs born in the pō where the sun rises;
Arise from the sea!
O relatives of all the chiefs born in the pō where the sun rises;
Arise from the sea!
O distant kin of all the chiefs born in the pō where the sun rises;
Arise from the sea!
O descendants of the chiefs
Stand up and live!
Live to an old age
This chant speaks to the lines of gods, chiefs, chiefly descendants and maka‘āinana (the people) whose culture, histories, religions, and political mana (power, authority) rise up like a mighty wave from the ocean. It speaks to the Kanaka Maoli people and our history of wayfinding across Moananuiākea, back and forth to various great Oceanic nations, settling in Hawai‘i and developing a thriving society filled with traditions and knowledge systems that sustained nearly 1,000,000 people in these islands by the time of the arrival of the European powers.
Throughout the 19th century, our chiefs reformed traditional, cultural, and political institutions into a constitutional monarchy known as the Hawaiian Kingdom and protected the sovereignty of our country against myriad imperialist nations who worked to carry out their interests on our shores.
In 1893, a group led by white business men and sugar planters, all Kingdom subjects, illegally overthrew the Kingdom’s reigning Queen, Queen Lili‘uokalani after she announced the promulgation of a new constitution that would give more power to the people and to Native governance. The overthrow was backed by U.S. Minister John L. Stevens who landed U.S. Marines to ensure the success of the overthrow, and who wanted Hawai‘i as a U.S. military outpost.
To skirt a treaty, the only legal mechanism of annexing another country, annexationists in the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution with a simple majority that claimed to annex the Hawaiian Kingdom. Annexation was near universally opposed by the majority Kanaka Maoli Kingdom citizenry as documented in the anti-annexation petitions housed in the U.S. Library of Congress and written about extensively by Noenoe Silva.
As such, the Hawaiian Kingdom is an occupied country. Its territory remains clearly defined—the entire archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands. Its national and Native language, ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, is still spoken and is in a state of ongoing revitalization. Its institutions have in many cases been either supressed or coopted by the state of Hawai‘i, the settler state civic operational arm of U.S. occupation. But many Kanaka Maoli as well as non-Native descendents of Kingdom subjects and also non-Native settler allies remain committed to restoring our institutions, our language, our cultural practices, our ability to determine how our lands are used, and ultimately our country and sovereignty.
The ASA promotes meaningful dialogue about the United States, throughout the U.S. and across the globe. Our purpose is to support scholars and scholarship committed to original research, innovative and effective teaching, critical thinking, and public discussion and debate. We are a network of scholars, teachers, writers, administrators and activists from around the world who hold in common a view of U.S. history and culture from multiple perspectives. The oldest scholarly association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of U.S. culture and history in a global context, we are also one of the leading scholarly communities supporting social change.
Our main contributions to the mission of advancing public dialogue about the U.S. are the publication of American Quarterly, the flagship journal in the field; our annual international convention and many regional conventions; and, our participation in public discussions of pressing issues related to the field of American Studies and the role of the U.S. in the world.
At our 2019 annual meeting, the ASA will pursue these goals through panels, meetings and events based on our conference theme.
The 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Studies Association occurs at a pivotal time and place in history. While Trumpism has exposed the depths of white male fragility, it has also laid bare the corruption of capitalism and the limits of U.S. power. Our theme, “Build as We Fight,” is a call to resist the destructive, genocidal effects of this rotting system, while acknowledging the imperative to create alternative means of survival and models of community from the ground up to address social problems that those in power cannot and will not solve.
As we gather in Honolulu, we recognize that Kanaka Maoli and their allies kū‘ē (oppose, resist and stand against) colonial science, desecration, and the devastating effects of climate change while working collectively to ho‘oulu lāhui (restore the strength and vibrancy of the nation). In the face of a settler history marked by the exploitation and dispossession wrought by plantations, militarism, and tourism, those of us coming from elsewhere are blessed with a wealth of opportunities to learn from and stand with the movements for Hawaiian Renaissance and Indigenous Resurgence.
With the guidance and dedicated work of the 2019 Site Resource Committee, we are working to decolonize the visitor experience, starting with our Opening Plenary (Thursday, 4:00 to 5:45 pm in Ballroom C) featuring scholars and activists deeply rooted in the struggle to protect Mauna Kea. The ASA is grateful to be able to partner with a wide array of Native Hawaiian and locally-based artists and organizers on special events, sessions, and tours addressing ecology, culture, epistemology, student activism, labor and capital in Hawai‘i. The striking program cover image capturing the urgency of the struggle to protect Mauna Kea was designed by Joy Enomoto, who will also lead a social justice zine-making workshop (Saturday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm).
The organizers are excited to present a program with 2,384 presenters in 520 sessions embodying the ASA’s growth and dynamism. As we expand our interdiscipinary reach far beyond the humanities fields at the original core of the association, our membership reflects the growing presence of groups historically underrepresented and marginalized within the academy and broader society. It is breathtaking to see ASA members drawing fresh insights and posing new problems as fields of study and scholarly communities converge, collide, and transform. Featured sessions will address climate change, disability justice, academic precarity, Palestinian freedom, white nationalism, food sovereignty, the movements of 1969, and other burning questions.
Our gathering sends a message that we stand unbowed in the face of assaults on our organization, staff, and individual members for exposing and disrupting the oppressive application of power. We are inspired by the courageous work of scholars like Michelle Jones, who repeatedly overcome barriers through their refusal to be shackled by the carceral logic that has infested campus politics. We draw strength from our 2019 Artist-in-Residence, adrienne maree brown of Detroit, who will appear on two roundtables and will also lead two can’t-miss workshops on “Emergent Strategy” and “Pleasure Activism.”
We honor the ongoing impact of towering figures like Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Mari Matsuda, as well as the enduring legacy of Toni Morrison, James and Grace Lee Boggs, and Patsy Mink. The annual meeting also provides an opportunity to reassess the state of the field based on the bold work and innovative new books covering subjects like racial capitalism, settler colonialism, migration from the Global South, and the intersectional politics of sexuality. To highlight the importance of this scholarship, we have combined the Celebration of Authors and Awards Ceremony with a Welcome Reception and Book Signing (Thursday, 6:00 pm) immediately following the Opening Plenary.
Although our work is incomplete, the ASA has advanced a number of initiatives to make our annual meeting more inclusive and accessible in order that we “walk the talk” by putting our values into practice. With the support of many of your donations, the ASA’s National Council created the Solidarity Fund, which combined with existing funds to provide 50 travel stipends to students, contingent faculty, international scholars, and community-based scholars and activists. The stipends were entirely supported by member donations. We have augmented our budget for ASL interpretation, and we are introducing professional, on-site childcare at rates we hope will be affordable for all. We are also inaugurating the Organizing Track with a plethora of workshops to advance struggles and movements bridging the campus and community.
Prompted by a rise in submissions, the expanded program spanning nearly four full days provides an opportunity to reimagine and reprioritize Sunday at the ASA. By opening Sunday attendance to the public at no cost, we strive to foster new dialogues and relationships with local scholars and community members, who are more likely to have time to join us on the weekend. With this in mind, we have grouped together some amazing panels under the banner of “Indigenous Resurgence Day,” along with a cluster devoted to worldmaking and radical futures. We also invite participants to attend the Mai Poina walking tour co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities.
We are greatly looking forward to your participation and contributions toward making our 2019 Annual Meeting memorable and impactful. None of this would be possible without the tremendous work of the ASA’s staff members— Brienne Adams, Kelsey Sherrod Michael, Deborah Kimmey, and John Stephens—and our partners at INMEX and the Johns Hopkins University Press. The many diverse elements of this year’s program further reflect the countless hours of volunteer labor contributed by numerous people, especially the members of the ASA’s Program Committee, Site Resource Committee, Executive Committee, National Council, Standing Committees, and Caucuses. Generous donors acknowledged in the program have stepped forward to help us pursue amibitious goals. We cannot thank you all enough.
Hokulani K. Aikau, Macarena Gómez-Barris, David Palumbo-Liu
2019 Program Committee Co-Chairs