Brown Bag Biography: J. Kehaulani Kauanui

November 14, 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Mānoa Campus, Kuykendall 410

From Identification to Disavowal: Engaging Feminism in the Work of Haunani-Kay Trask, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, American Studies and Anthropology, Wesleyan University.

This talk is based on my next book project, on Native Hawaiian women’s nationalist activism and the complicated relationship to feminism. There is a paucity of work constituting a body of Native Hawaiian feminist thought, but the bulk of what has been produced is by Haunani-Kay Trask. The talk will explore how she went from identifying as a feminist – as reflected in her first book, Eros and Power: The Promise of Feminist Theory (1986) – to dismissing feminism altogether as irrelevant to the realities of Native Hawaiian women in From a Native Daughter (1992). Trask advanced a critique of the Western individualism promoted by white American feminism, which she argues undermines Hawaiian collective struggles for self-determination. Trask’s political critique of feminism, as both a cultural and political problem, deserves serious consideration. Thus, my talk tracks her shifting political trajectory to suggest how feminism may pose an epistemological problem for Hawaiian sovereignty and the reclamation of mana wahine (women’s power).

J. Kehaulani Kauanui is Professor of American Studies and affiliate faculty in Anthropology at Wesleyan University, where she teaches courses on indigenous studies, critical race studies, settler colonial studies, and anarchist studies. She is the author of Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Duke University Press 2008) and Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism (Duke University Press 2018). She is also the editor of Speaking of Indigenous Politics: Conversations with Activists, Scholars, and Tribal Leaders (University of Minnesota Press 2018), which is based on the radio program she produced and hosted for seven years, “Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond” that was widely syndicated through the Pacific network. Kauanui currently serves as a co-producer for an anarchist politics show called, “Anarchy on Air,” a majority-POC show co-produced with a group of Wesleyan students, which builds on her earlier work on another collaborative anarchist program called “Horizontal Power Hour.” Kauanui is one of the six original co-founders of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), established in 2008.

Ticket Information
Free and Open to the Public

Event Sponsor
Center for Biographical Research, American Studies, Ethnic Studies, English, Political Science, Women's Studies, and HASA, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Janet Graham, (808) 956-3774,,

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