• Imaging And Imaginings Of Hawaiianness In The Contemporary Hawaiian Islands

      Meredith, Ashley; Koester, David; Managan, Jane Kathryn (2010)
      The desire for the Hawaiian Kingdom to be restored and recognized as a nation-state has been a common interest among Hawaiians since the illegal United States occupation in 1893. However, colonial induced turbulence, caused by annexation, statehood, an early 20th century ban on Hawaiian language and cultural activities, the 50 percent blood quantum rule, and tourism, have had a profound impact on perceptions of Hawaiianness and Hawaiian identity and unity. With this historical backdrop, the thesis presents an analysis of the role and impact of the visual landscape in the construction and maintenance of individual and group identity in Hawai`i. The ethnographic fieldwork for this study, in addition to general observations, involved three programmatic research activities: participant photographic observations, a pile sort, and category tests. These exercises used images that reflected various aspects of Hawaiian history, symbolism and iconography. The aim of these open-ended but controlled activities was to gain a deeper understanding of contemporary Hawaiian identity through indigenous Hawaiians' and Hawai`i residents' perceptions of Hawaiianness. Perceptions and expression of Hawaiianness and Hawaiian identity were examined on the basis of responses to visual elements of the public environment such as street signs, advertisements, activities, and landscapes on Hawai`i Island. Such visual elements in the public environment are often designed to meet visitors' and residents' desires and expectations. With the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement as an important driving force, many Hawaiians are working towards "socio-visual sustainability" and a culturally sustaining and more unified future.