5/4 Colloquium: We are satisfied with the rocks: Military partitions and resurgent indigenous economies in Hawaii

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Date(s) - 05/04/2017
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Science Center Room 4102


LAUREL MEI-SINGH of The Program in American Studies at Princeton University presents on


With a focus on military fences, this presentation will examine the socioenvironmental dimensions of military occupation. In particular, private property and war regimes have partitioned Hawai’i’s land, tearing apart its social and economic fabric predicated on interdependent relations between humans and the natural world. The theft of water initiated by plantations and ranches facilitated military takeover and has confined people into particular ways of life–pushing many to join the military to attain the stability compromised by repetitive dispossession. However, this endeavor is perpetually incomplete, as people continue to establish interdependent communities that harness human and environmental resources, drawing from older systems while confronting modern conditions.


Laurel Mei-Singh

Speaker Bio:

Laurel Mei-Singh serves as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in American Studies at Princeton University. Her research interests include land and militarization, the relationship of race and Indigeneity to histories of war, fences and self-determination, the nation-state, racial capitalism, and the Pacific. Her current project develops a genealogy of military fences and grassroots struggles for land and livelihood in Wai‘anae, a rural and heavily militarized region of the island of O’ahu in Hawai’i. She has published articles on this topic in American Quarterly and Pacific Health Dialog.

Laurel has taught at Princeton, the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Hawai’i. A devoted public scholar, she has participated in community organizing efforts in New York City and Hawai‘i, and serves as a board member of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities based in New York City. Previously, she has worked with the Wai’anae Environmental Justice Working Group and Hawai‘i Peace and Justice. She earned her PhD in Geography with a certificate in American Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center, a Masters in Public Health at Columbia University, and Bachelors of Arts in English at UCLA. She was born and raised near Lēahi (Diamond Head) on O’ahu.

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