Center for Pacific Island Studies
   core faculty
   • terence wesley-smith
   • tarcisius kabutaulaka
   • lola quan bautista
   • alexander mawyer
   • moana nepia
   • julie walsh
   • managing editor
   • outreach director
   • administrative asst
   • graduate assistants
   • affiliate faculty
   • graduate students
Julie Walsh

Julie Walsh

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Assistant Specialist
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
PhD University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (2003)

Moore Hall 211
(808) 956-2668

Julie Walsh joined the Center in 2008 as a specialist to focus on the development of an undergraduate program in Pacific Islands Studies. Dr Walsh holds degrees in cultural anthropology from Louisiana State University (MA 1995) and the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (PhD 2003).

Dr Walsh is committed to increasing cross-cultural awareness by applying anthropological knowledge in the public realm, particularly in ways that benefit those whose lives enable anthropological careers. To that end, in 2000, with Marshallese colleagues, she cofounded a nonprofit organization (Small Island Networks) to offer skills-training opportunities for Marshallese immigrants and cultural orientations for Hawai'i service providers. She has developed resources for Hawai'i teachers and a curriculum based on Marshallese folktales.

Her work in the community is supplemented by scholarship that engages Marshallese perspectives and histories. Dr Walsh coauthored a history of the Marshall Islands for use by the RMI Ministry of Education, and has served in various institutions in the Marshalls: the College of the Marshall Islands, Alele Museum, the Historic Preservation Office, and the Ministry of Education (where she facilitated the development of the ministry's five-year strategic plan, 2006–2011). She also served as Reviews Editor for The Contemporary Pacific from 2008 to 2012.

Dr Walsh's research interests include Marshallese models of leadership and authority, RMI-US relations, Marshallese histories, Micronesian traditions and politics, immigrant experiences, indigenizing education, cross-cultural adoptions, and public anthropology.

Selected publications

In Press Film review: "Land of Eb." The Contemporary Pacific 26 (1).
2012 Etto Nan Raan Kein: A Marshall Islands History. Honolulu: Bess Press. 526 pp. 9th grade textbook.
2012 "Pacific Places." Curriculum unit for Hawaii State 7th grade teachers. Contributor. Available at:
2006 Book review (with Hilda Heine): Life in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Majuro: USP Center; Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies, USP). The Contemporary Pacific 18:453-456. [download PDF]
2006 Chapter revision: "Marshall Islands." In Pacific Nations and Territories, by Reilly Ridgell, 118-127. Honolulu: Bess Press.
2005 Encyclopedia article: "Marshall Islands." In The New Book of Knowledge: Reference for the 21st Century, 112-113. New York: Grolier.
2004 Book review: The Marshall Islands: Living Atolls Amidst the Living Sea, by the National Biodiversity Team of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Santa Clarita, CA: St. Hildegard Publishing Company, 2000). The Contemporary Pacific 16:449-452. [download PDf]

Book review: Marshall Islands Legends and Stories, collected and edited by Daniel A. Kelin II and illustrated by Nashton T. Nashon (Honolulu: Bess Press, 2003). In Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies 18 (1): 110-113.

2001 Political Review of the Marshall Islands, July 1999 through June 2000. The Contemporary Pacific 13:211-216. Download pdf
2000 Political Review of the Marshall Islands, July 1998 through June 1999. The Contemporary Pacific 12:204-211. Download pdf
1999 Janet Bell award-winning adoption article:
Adoption and Agency: American Adoptions of Marshallese Children. Download pdf


2003 Imagining the Marshalls: Chiefs, Traditions, and the State on the Fringes of the U.S. Empire.

Her doctoral research explored local views of the United States and expectations of the US role in the bilateral US-RMI Compact of Free Association, while engaging participants in grassroots and national debates that challenged the roles of traditional leaders and elites. A divisive national gambling legislation debate in the 1st session of the Nitijela (Parliament) in 1998 created a context for discussions about the expectations and limits of authority and leadership. Discussions pointed to the powers of traditional authorities and modern elites as agents in the processes of globalization as well as in indigenous practices of resistance. The dissertation analyzes historical and contemporary examples of Marshallese leaders who have used rhetoric about or relationships with foreign third parties, such as the United States, as enemies or allies to shore up sides in local contests.


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