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"Hawaiian Decolonization and the Enduring Question of Feminism" with J. Kēhaulani Kauanui

Indigenous Women's Speakers Series on Health and Decolonisation Presented by The Faculty of Health and the Centre for Feminist Research

25 February 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Password: 380453

Related to a new book project (in-progress), this presentation will address the politics of contemporary Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) women’s nationalist activism, which includes the construction and deployment of cultural discourses of reclamation in the area of gender and sexuality within Hawaiian nationalist initiatives. In short, the talk explores how feminism poses an epistemological problem for Indigenous sovereignty. The majority of what has been produced on the question of Hawaiian women and feminism was produced by Haunani-Kay Trask. 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 her last, 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. The lecture will engage Trask’s political critique of feminism, as both a cultural and political problem in relation to the Hawaiian context, along with the speaker’s reckoning with her own shifting political trajectory with regard to these questions

J. Kēhaulani 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 earned her 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 emerged from a 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 also one of the six co-founders of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). She is currently completing a book manuscript provisionally titled, “Indigenous Implications: U.S. Settler Colonialism and Palestine Solidarity Politics,” an intervention in how U.S.-based solidarity activists engaged in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel situate Palestine, and the ethics of challenging one settler colonial state while situated in another.