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October 3, 2019 Tang Institute
2019-10-03 19:00 2019-10-03 21:00 America/New_York He Ao ‘Olelo: Sovereign Hawaii, New England Missionaries, and a New “World of Words” Kemper Auditorium Andover

He Ao ‘Olelo: Sovereign Hawaii, New England Missionaries, and a New “World of Words”

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., Kemper Auditorium

Description: Oliver Wendell Holmes Library and Tang Institute present a scholarly discussion and cultural program exploring new texts, current research, and thoughtful responses to the bicentennial of the first Hawaii Mission.

Two hundred years ago, New England-based missionaries, many with ties to Andover, made the inaugural voyage to the Kingdom of Hawaii. The rest, the saying goes, is history. But, whose history is it? From whose perspective has it been told and to what ends? What if the intertwined histories of Hawaii and New England were even more complex, intriguing, and far-reaching than we have previously imagined? In fact, today’s generation of historians, archivists, scholars, museum directors, educators, and Hawaiian-language teachers, students, and activists, is utterly transforming our understanding of this shared history.

Join us for a public dialogue exploring contemporary humanities scholarship and the implications of this new knowledge for institutional, local, and national histories and identities, including Phillips Academy Andover and Andover Theological Seminary. Our panel of humanities scholars and teachers will discuss new research methodologies and philosophies, including critical examination of archives and historical narratives as spaces and shapers of power and privilege, and a vigorous, unprecedented focus on long-neglected, vast archives of Hawaiian language source material. Translation, critical interpretation, and deep contextualization of He Ao ‘Olelo, this Hawaiian “world of words,” are leading to a profound reframing of an understanding of the past formerly based on and dominated by English language sources and perspectives. Digitizing these materials has vastly increased access to these new histories and has opened exciting possibilities for decolonizing colonial histories of Hawaii, and for centering social justice in teaching and learning about historical and contemporary Hawaii and New England.

The program features a 27-minute performance by Writer/Actor/Storyteller Moses Goods of his original play, “My Name is 'Ōpūkahaʻia." Based on research into archival documents, including Hawaiian language sources, the production reframes our understanding of the story of the young Christian convert, Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia, whose New England travels and experiences are often cited as the inspiration for the Hawaii Mission.

This event is the first in the public humanities discussion series organized by the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives, “Encountering History using Innovative and Disruptive Narratives,” with support from Massachusetts Humanities Council and Massachusetts Cultural Council.


Moderator: Dr. Marisela Ramos, Department of History, Phillips Academy

Discussant: Dr. Noelani Arista, Associate Professor of History, University of Hawaii, Manoa, author of The Kingdom and the Republic: Sovereign Hawaii and the Early United States, 2019

Discussant: Dr. Elizabeth Pope, Archivist, Hawaiian Collections, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA

Discussant/Performer: Moses Goods, Writer/Actor/Storyteller, Honolulu, Hawaii

Discussant: Dr. Paige Roberts, Archivist, Phillips Academy Andover

*Book-signing and sale of Dr. Arista’s The Kingdom and the Republic: Sovereign Hawaii and the Early United States (2019) immediately following the event

Free and Open to the Public

Contact Corrie Martin for more information

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