The Department of Ethnic Studies at UH Mānoa focuses on the intersections of race, ethnicity, indigeneity, culture, class, migration, gender, and sexuality in Hawai‘i, the United States, and Oceania. We conduct interdisciplinary, transnational, and comparative analyses of identities of and inequalities among social groups. Foregrounding civic engagement, Ethnic Studies research and teaching foster thoughtful and compassionate leaders and stewards of the ‘āina (land). We train our students to imagine and craft responsible alternatives to local, regional, national, and global problems.
Ethnic Studies has developed a unique academic presence at Mānoa. It is the only unit whose concentration is wholly upon race and ethnic relations, both in Hawai'i and the U.S., as well as comparative studies of groups around the world. The Department of Ethnic Studies is also unique in that it maintains a research and teaching philosophy emphasizing praxis: the application of intellectual theories to the complex programs in our local communities.
This includes being committed to an ongoing interaction with local communities on the basis of mutual respect and a two-way exchange of learning and information. We have also continued to engage undergraduates as teaching assistants in our classes to provide peer instruction, a program has produced outstanding "publicly oriented" citizens in a variety of fields including politics, law, labor, education, business, culture, and human services.
Our faculty has special expertise in the history of Native Hawaiians, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, African Americans, Native Americans and Caucasians; ethnic and race relations in the United States; political economy and ethnic issues in the Middle East, North America, and the Pacific Islands, and offers courses and conducts research in these areas.