Letter from the Chair


With this brief welcome I invite you to learn more about our department and explore ways to connect with our program through its faculty and students.

Our department is built on principles that have organized anthropological research for many decades, while at the same time seeking new directions that reflect recent transformations in the field and our unique geopolitical location in Hawai‘i with its strong ties to the Pacific and Asia.

Like the majority of anthropology programs in the United States, our department combines expertise in archaeological, biological and cultural anthropology. Our work in these areas is informed by the recognition that our location in the Hawaiian islands is home to a Native people, Kanaka Maoli, who continue to assert kuleana (rights and responsibilities) as ‘Ōiwi (Indigenous people). The history of our department, and the university as a whole, is built upon the significance of the Hawaiian islands as a place for cultural encounter, political struggle and relationship-building between the United States and Asia and the Pacific.

Geoffrey White

Christian Peterson
Department Chair

Kuleana defines the ethical basis upon which we establish who we are and what we do as scholars and as citizens. If anthropology is the study of humankind in all its interactions, symbols, objects, emotions, meaning systems, and struggles, then kuleana expresses principles of respect and obligation that guide that endeavor.

We invite you to be part of our community: visit, apply, collaborate, as we continue to fashion a distinct vision for anthropology in and of the future.


• We are pleased to announce that UHM Anthropology PhD candidate Rachel Hoerman and her colleagues Nathalie Brusgaard (Leiden University), Natalie Franklin (University of Queensland), George Nash (University of Bristol) and Daniel Arsenault (Université du Québec à Montréal) just received a Wenner-Gren Foundation Workshop/Conference Grant ($19,976.00) to convene an "Innovating Rock Art Research Theory and Practice" workshop from August 24th - 27th, 2017, in Salzburg, Austria.

• Congratulations to UHM Ph.D. Candidate (A.B.D.) Rachel Hoerman, who recently published "Pacific Rock Art from 2010-2014: Research Trends, Conservation and Losses" in Rock Art Studies: News of the World V (Oxbow Books, Oxford, UK). Her book chapter summarizes Pacific rock art research advances and contributions to our understanding of the archaeological record. It also reports conservation initiatives and rock art lost to natural and human forces throughout the region.

• Kudos to UHM Anthropology PhD candidate Mattias van Ommen, who was awarded a prestigious Japan Foundation Fellowship to support his doctoral dissertation field research. He also recently published an article in Games and Culture (published online 3/2/2016) entitled, “Guild Wars 2, the Frankfurt School and Dialectical Fairy Scenes: A critical approach towards massively multiplayer online video games”. Congratulations to Mattias!

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