Skip to Main Content

Hawaiian Studies

A collection of books, articles, databases, primary sources, and more related to the Hawaiian islands and its history, culture, food, art, agriculture, botany, language, community, activism, and more!

Introduction to Hawaiian Studies

Aloha, E Komo Mai!

Welcome to the Hawaiian Studies Libguide! This guide is a resource for students, faculty, and staff to find books, articles, databases, and open access items discussing topics related to Hawai'i and its diaspora.

This guide is meant to be an interdisciplinary intersectional look at Hawaiian history, art, culture, language, environment, and many more topics as they relate to the study of the Hawaiian Islands (Kō Hawai'i Pae 'Āina) and its people (Kānaka Maoli). Hawai'i is a unique place filled with a special beauty, culture and people; it is also a land that faces distinctive challenges due to illegal annexation. 

This guide provides resources and places to look for research materials to help guide you in your assignments. The goal of this guide is to support students with connections to Hawai'i in their research, though everyone is invited to learn more deeply about the history and present-day realities of the islands. We welcome you to learn more about this beautiful place in all of its facets and nuances and to incorporate Hawai'i into your SU learning. 

Special thanks to Lily Kelly-Jervis for her invaluable experience, expertise, and time, without whom, this research guide would not exist. 

So much gratitude goes to Jodie Mattos and Kapena Shim of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, who very kindly shared their time and expertise, in addition to providing some of the print materials that compose the print collection that accompanies this guide. Their knowledge was essential to the development of this guide and the Hawaiian collection.

Important Topics in Hawaiian Studies

These are some key topics to examine and consider when learning more about the complex history, legacy, and environment of Hawai'i.

  • Indigenous Sovereignty/ Hawaiian Sovereignty
  • Overtourism
  • Sustainable agriculture & farming
  • Colonialism
  • Decolonization
  • Global immigration 
  • Racism
  • High cost of living on the islands
  • Community Health
  • Homelessness
  • Hawaiian Language erasure
  • Climate Change

Useful Hawaiian Terms

  • Aloha - Literally means "the presence of breath" but has many meanings. Love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, grace, charity, greeting, lover.

  • Mahalo - Thanks, gratitude, to thank.

  • Mālama - To care for, attend, preserve, protect, save, serve.

  • 'Ohana - Family, relative, kin, related. Usually refers to multi-generations of family. 

  • Lōkahi - Unity, agreement, accord, unison, harmony.

  • Mo'olelo - Story, tale, myth, history, tradition, literature, legend, journal, log, yarn, fable, essay.

  • ‘Ōlelo - Means language, speech, word, etc.

  • ‘āina - Land, earth.

  • Kuleana - Right, privilege, concern, responsibility, title, business, property, state, ect. 

  • Mele - Song, anthem, chant, poem, poetry, to sing.

  • Waiwai - Goods, property, assets, valuables, value, worth, wealth, importance.

  • Lāhui - Nation, race, tribe, people, nationality, species, national, racial.

  • Kanaka - Human being, man, person, individual, party, mankind, population; subject, as of a chief; laborer, servant, helper; Hawaiian.


Get Research Help

chat loading...

Student Engagement Librarian