UH Doctoral English Student Awarded Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

Dissertation to focus on unprecedented analysis of traditional Hawaiian literature

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
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Arlene Abiang, (808) 956-5637
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Jul 2, 2004

HONOLULU—UH Mānoa English doctoral student Kuʻualoha Hoʻomanawanui was one of 35 nationally to receive the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship this year. Hoʻomanawanui was awarded $21,000 to support research and writing of her dissertation. She is working on a literary analysis of Pele literature published in 19th-century Hawaiian-language newspapers and on the politics of publishing and translation during this politically volatile period of Hawaiian history.

"I‘m very honored," said Hoʻomanawanui. "This aspect of scholarship, as an indigenous scholar, is very important to me, as I see myself as one small part of a bigger community who has supported me in my educational endeavors."

Hoʻomanawanui, who is native Hawaiian, dropped out of high school in Kapaʻa, Kauaʻi, and received her GED in 1984. She attended Kauaʻi Community College and transferred to UH Mānoa where she received a BA in Hawaiian studies in 1991, MA in Polynesian religion in 1997 and will complete her PhD in English in 2005. Hoʻomanawanui is also editor-in-chief of "ʻOiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journal," a publication dedicated to the writing and artwork of Native Hawaiian artists, which she co-founded with Mahealani Dudoit who was recently awarded her PhD in English posthumously.

"With her depth and breadth of knowledge, creativity, commitment and achievement, Kuʻualoha‘s excellence would stand out anywhere, but what she will do as a scholar and a teacher for the Hawaiian community is priceless," said Cristina Bacchilega, UH Mānoa Department of English chair and director of Hoʻomanawanui‘s dissertation.

The Ford Foundation has funded a variety of projects aimed at promoting academic excellence and advancing the careers of ethnically diverse scholars since the 1960s. The Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowships are focused on increasing the underrepresentation of minorities on college faculties.