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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A sociopolitical history of Hawaiian archaeology: Kuleana and commitment
by Kawelu, Kathleen Leinani, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2007, 274; 3275821
Abstract (Summary)

One hundred years of Hawaiian archaeology lay before us, and it is appropriate to take stock of where we have been in order to guide us into the future. Histories of the discipline have emphasized the role of archaeological institutions, research questions, and practitioners in the development of Hawaiian archaeology; yet our understanding is incomplete regarding the sociopolitical factors contributing to this development. In this dissertation, I examine the sociopolitical history of Hawaiian archaeology, focusing on the interpersonal relationships between native Hawaiian people and archaeologists working in Hawai`i.

My research is an ethnography of archaeology, an investigation of the practice of archaeology in the Hawaiian Islands. Through interviews with archaeologists and native Hawaiians, whose personal knowledge of and experiences with the discipline of archaeology extends back to the 1940s, I examine past and present relationships between people interested in the protection, perpetuation, and preservation of Hawaiian culture. These interviews provide insights into the character of contemporary relationships as well as identify past events and practices contributing to present circumstances. Each individual speaks from a unique perspective and presents an understanding of the world through narratives. Using narrative analysis to recognize themes embedded in the personal accounts of individuals, I was able to look at past events significant in the development of native Hawaiian/archaeology relations to isolate issues and concerns present there. Taken collectively these narratives echo ideas shared amongst several individuals to create a larger narrative on Hawaiian archaeology.

While the colonial impact of United States policies underlie many of the personal accounts, one of the overarching narratives speaks of the varying levels of archaeological investment to the discipline, the field of Hawaiian archaeology, and to native Hawaiian descendant communities. The narratives of the native Hawaiians I spoke to express an appreciation for archaeologists respectful of contemporary native Hawaiian peoples, the living culture, in their pursuit of knowledge. Present day native Hawaiians seek a commitment from archaeologists to past and present societies, while archaeologists seek more of an appreciation from native Hawaiians for the legal parameters of historic preservation under which most archaeology is practiced today.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kirch, Patrick V.
School: University of California, Berkeley
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 68/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Cultural anthropology, American history
Keywords: Archaeology, Hawaii, Kuleana, Sociopolitical history
Publication Number: 3275821
ISBN: 978-0-549-19375-3
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