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The Literature of Hawai'i

English 255


Professor: Dr. Robin Bott

English Department

Adrian College

110 S. Madison Street

Adrian, MI 49221

Phone: #3908


Course Description:

As a case study of cultural criticism focusing specifically on the cultural history and literature of Native Hawai'ians and the various other ethnic cultures that make up the larger culture of Hawai'i, this course will examine written texts and works in other media detailing various cultural and historical transmissions, transitions, and transformations from the time of the Native Hawai'ian settlers to the missionaries, immigrants, and finally, the current population. Through the literature of Hawai'i, the course will expose you to both individual and group quests for identity. In the diverse, multicultural society of Hawai'i, identity is complicated, fluid, and constantly shifting amidst continual efforts to define, codify, or fix it. In the literature of Hawai'i, Native Hawai'ians and other ethnic groups such as the Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and haoles all assert, define, and refine changing notions of ethnic identity and cultural selves as they and the landscape around them change. We will examine the literature to see how individuals and groups create, contest, and negotiate for a place, an identity, amidst a long tradition of ethnic and cultural tensions in Hawai'i. Through our heightened awareness of the complex social, political, and cultural situations in Hawai'i, we may also recognize the multiple and competing aspects of our own search for self and community.

Course Objectives:

• To acquaint you with the non-Western literature and perspectives of the people of Hawai'i.

• To increase your appreciation and understanding of the literature of Hawai'i and of the culture that produced it and was in turn partly produced by it.

• To expose you to various types of literary expression, such as ancient oral creation chants and mythologies, missionary journals, songs, poetry and prose of Native Hawai'ian monarchs, literature of Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese immigrants, and the multiculturally influenced poetry, prose and drama of the current popular culture.

• To destabilize established notions of Western hegemony.

• To have you examine texts within the social and intellectual contexts of Hawai'i.

• To improve your writing skills through a series of written assignments.

Required Texts:

Hawaiian Mythology, Martha Beckwith

Kumulipo, Martha Beckwith

Hawai'i’s Story by Hawai'i’s Queen, Lili'uokalani

All I Asking for is My Body, Murayama

A Small Obligation, Nunes

Growing Up Local: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose from Hawai'i, Chock

The Watcher of Waipuna, Pak

Waimea Summer, Holt

Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary, Pukui

A Writer’s Reference, 4th ed., Hacker

Course Grade:

Grading for this course will be based on (1) attendance, (2) participation/class work, (3) response papers and quizzes, and (4) two 5 page formal papers.

Course Rules:

1) Grading will be on a straight percentage. Failure to complete all assignments constitutes failure of the course.

2) You are expected to attend all class meetings on time and prepared to work.

3) All absences will affect your final grade. Arriving more than 5 minutes late to class, leaving class early, falling asleep, reading outside material, or doing homework for another class will constitute an absence. After 6 absences, you will fail the course.

4) Unless otherwise specified, all work is due at the beginning of the class period. I do not accept late work.

5) All written work is to be typed or word processed following the format provided in A Writer’s Reference. I do not accept handwritten work.

6) I want to establish a comfortable and productive learning environment. Respect for yourselves, your classmates, and me is imperative. Rude or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.

7) Plagiarism is a failing offense. If caught plagiarizing, you will fail this course. Plagiarism is the failure to give credit for the use of material from outside sources. It includes verbatim use of a quote without quotation marks and documentation, submission of a paper prepared by another person as one’s own work, using another’s ideas, facts, words, or data and claiming them as your own, and not documenting ideas, facts, words, or data gathered during research. This type of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this class. Don’t take any chances; if you didn’t come up with it on your own, you’re plagiarizing. Know that claiming ignorance will not excuse the offense. (See pages 48-49 of the Adrian College Student Handbook for the college’s complete Academic Integrity Policy)


Paper Format for All Written Work

First Page Format


John Smith (your name)

Professor Jane Doe (my name)

English 255 (course number)

March 15, 2000 (today’s date)

The Life and Times of Peter Rabbit

When you format your papers for this class, be sure that you use this format for the first page. There should be 1 inch margins all the way around, the title should be centered, the paper should be double spaced throughout—including extracted quotations, and there should be no separate title page.


Second and Succeeding Page Format


Smith 2

On the second and succeeding pages, follow this format. Your last name, followed by the page number, should be at the right margin 1/2 inch from the top. Text should begin, as usual, 1 inch from the top, 1/2 inch from your name. This task is easily accomplished with the "Header" function in your word processing program.


Works Cited Page Format


Smith 7

Works Cited

Beckwith, Martha, ed. and trans. The Kumulipo: A Hawaiian Creation Chant. Honolulu: U of Hawai'i P, 1951.

Above is an example of how to do a Works Cited page which goes at the end of your essays. You must include a separate Works Cited page at the end of your work whenever you quote information within your work. The Works Cited title should be centered 1 inch from the top of the page. Your first entry should begin a double-spaced return after the Works Cited title; it should be left justified with the second and succeeding lines of the same entry indented 5 spaces. See A Writer’s Reference or the most current MLA Handbook for further citation information.


Tentative Reading Schedule:

M 1/10 Introduction to the course
W 1/12 Hawaiian Mythology 2-3
Th 1/13 Hawaiian Mythology 4-5
F 1/14 Hawaiian Mythology 6-10

Response Paper #1 due

W 1/19 Hawaiian Mythology 11-13
Th 1/20 Hawaiian Mythology 14&16
F 1/21 Hawaiian Mythology15&19

Response Paper #2 due

M 1/24 Hawaiian Mythology 20-22
W1/26 Hawaiian Mythology 23-24
Th 1/27 Hawaiian Mythology 25-26
F 1/28 Hawaiian Mythology 27-28

Response Paper #3 due

M 1/31 Hawaiians part 1
W 2/2 History of Hawai'i-lecture,

Kumulipo, Intro and Part I

Th 2/3 Kumulipo
F 2/4 Kumulipo
M 2/7 Kumulipo
W 2/9 Kumulipo

Response Paper #4 due

Th 2/10 Hula and chant
F 2/11 Hula and chant,

Merrie Monarch Festival

M 2/14 Hawaiians part 2
W 2/16 Hawai'i’s Story
Th 2/17 Hawai'i’s Story
F 2/18 Hawai'i’s Story
M 2/21 Hawai'i’s Story
W 2/23 Act of War

Response Paper #5 due

Th 2/24 Last Queen
F 2/25 Discuss first paper assignment
M 3/6 Workshop first paper
W 3/8 Conferences
Th 3/9 Conferences
F 3/10 Conferences
M 3/13 Picture Bride

Paper #1 due

W 3/15 Picture Bride
Th 3/16 Picture Bride
F 3/17 All I Asking For Is My Body
M 3/20 All I Asking For Is My Body
W 3/22 A Small Obligation
Th 3/23 A Small Obligation
F 3/24 Growing Up Local

Response Paper #6 due

M 3/27 Growing Up Local
W 3/29 Growing Up Local
Th 3/30 Growing Up Local
F 3/31 Hawaiians part 3

Response Paper #7 due

M 4/3 Waimea Summer
W 4/5 Waimea Summer
Th 4/6 Wayfinders
F 4/7 Storytellers

Response Paper #8 due

M 4/10 The Watcher of Waipuna
W 4/12 Watcher
Th 4/13 Watcher
F 4/14 Hawaiian Humor

Response Paper #9 due

M 4/17 Hawaiian Humor
W 4/19 Workshop second paper
Th 4/20 Wrap up
M 4/24

3:30-5:30 pm

Final exam/Lu’au

Paper #2 due

Update: 02/07/2000

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