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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Tevita O. Ka'Ili
ANTH 307
Seattle Campus

U.S. Pacific Islander Contemporary Culture

Examines U.S. Pacific Islander culture as informed by Pacific history, social and cultural organization. Emphasis on understanding contemporary experience in the U.S. and other diaspora communities. Major themes include post-colonialism, migration, family, religion, politics, gender, education, and transnational identify. Recommended: either ANTH 202 or AES 151. Offered: jointly with AAS 300; Sp.

Class description

At the end of this course, students will be able to: 1. Think comparatively and analytically about the patterns of social structure and culture that have framed the experiences of Pacific Islander in the U.S. 2. Describe the impacts of Pacific history and culture on the lives of Pacific Islanders in the U.S. 3. Critically examine the effects of transnationalism, diaspora, and colonialism on Pacific Islander communities in the U.S. 4. Understand the complex ways in which Pacific Islanders negotiate and respond to colonialism, racism, sexism, and globalization. 5. Experience first-hand certain moments in the everyday lives of Pacific Islander in the U.S. 6. Work collaboratively and communally as members of a learning kainga (classroom-kin).

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

In this class, we will use a Pacific (Tongan) learning format known as "Fofola e Fala Kae Alea e Kainga" (Roll-out the Mats so that the Kin can Dialogue). In this format, all students are considered a member of a classroom kainga (classroom-kin). Our classroom kainga will have a name. Students are expected to participate in communal learning and to engage one another in respectful dialogues. Students will be graded on their ability to participate in this kainga learning format. As members of the classroom kainga, all students are required to come to each class fully prepared to discuss the readings and take an active role in class activities. Class members are encouraged to draw from their "local and situated knowledge" (knowledge derived from their lived experiences) to enrich class dialogues. Remember that valuable knowledge exists outside of written texts.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Group Intensive Hanging-out Assignment: Class members will be divided into groups to participate in a Group Intensive Hanging-out assignment. Each group will have a name. This assignment is designed to provide students with an opportunity to experience first-hand certain moments in the lives of Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Group members must collaborate to workout the details for this group assignment. Each group must choose a community and spend a total of 15 hours during the quarter hanging-out (as a group) in that particular Pacific Islander community (e.g., religious community, kinship community, virtual community, social services community, school community, etc). In the last week of class, each group will give a presentation of their assignment to the class. Here are few possible Group Intensive Hanging-out activities: 1. Religious Community: Attend and hangout at Pacific Islander church meetings. Church meetings may include the following: church sermons, church prayer services, church feasts, Sunday schools, after church coffee hour, church choir practices, before/after church gatherings, church annual donation meetings (misinale), church youth meetings, etc. 2. Kinship Community: Hangout with a Pacific Islander family. This may include the following: talking with families, accompanying a family to a government agency, attending a community event with a family, attending a family event, talk to family elders, etc. 3. Virtual Community: Post writings in a Pacific Islander online forum and hangout online in a Pacific Islander chatroom during chat sessions (i.e., Poly Cafe website, Island Voice website, etc). 4. Community Events: Participate and hangout at Pacific Islander community events—e.g., public weddings, birthday celebrations, fundraisers, community meetings, etc. 5. Same-gender Community: Attend and participate in three different same-gender activities—such as all-male kava parties, women quilt-making gatherings, etc. 6. Social Services Community: Participate in Pacific Islander community social services activities—such as food bank drives, tutoring sessions, etc. 7. Imagined Community: Listen to Pacific Islander radio programs (on the airwaves and online). Read Pacific Islander newspapers and magazines. Hangout and talk with Pacific Islanders that are running radio programs, newspapers, and magazines. 8. Cultural Expression Community: Visit and hangout at dance schools (i.e.Hula Halau), language schools, Pacific Islander concerts, dance and music festivals, dance practices, listen to Pacific Islander American musical compositions, etc. 9. School Community: Visit and hangout at high schools where Pacific Islander students attend—i.e., talk to P.I. students and parents, talk to teachers and principals, visit classrooms, visit P.I. school club meetings, hangout at community meetings relating to education, etc. Group projects must be approved by the instructor. In addition, all groups must meet with the instructor in the beginning of the quarter and towards the end of the quarter before their group presentation.

Group Presentations: Each group will have an opportunity at the last week of class to present their group assignment to the rest of the class. Several presentation styles are acceptable (storytelling, role-playing, video, PowerPoint, slideshow, etc.). It is essential that each group present in a way that reflects the community that they conducted their hanging-out assignment. Try to bring part of that community to our classroom and be creative.

Hanging-out Notes: Throughout the Group Intensive Hanging-out Assignment, students are required to write hanging-out notes. Hanging-out notes are designed to document students' Intensive Hanging-out activity and to help students prepare for their final group presentation. Hanging-out notes must include students' observations and feelings about the activity. In addition, hanging-out notes must use class concepts and theoretical ideas to interpret issues (for Pacific Islanders and Students) encounter in the hanging-out activity. Students are required to make an entry (1 to 2 pages) in their Hanging-out notes after each hanging-out activity. Each Hanging-out note must be typed and must include the event, date, and time spend. The first half of the Hanging-out notes (1st week to 5 week) is due on Friday the 5th week and the second half (6th week to 10 week) is due on Friday the 10th week. Journal Writing: Each week students will keep a journal. This journal writing assignment is intended to integrate reading materials, films, and students' local knowledge and personal experiences. It is critical that students use their journals as spaces for "critical dialogue" between class materials/assignments and their personal life practices. Summarizing reading materials and films will not meet the requirements for this assignment. The journal will also be an integral part of the class dialogues. During class dialogues, students will be required to write a short paragraph in their journals about class materials and discussions. Instructor will identify certain students to share their paragraphs with the class. This is one way of assuring that each individual voice is valued and recognized. All journals must be typed. The minimum length is 2 pages, the maximum is 4 pages. Journals are due each Friday and will be graded: check plus = 10 points, check = 8 points, or check minus = 6 points, according to the following criteria: a) turning in on time b) demonstrating familiarity with the readings and the class film c) using critical thinking skills to critique and synthesize class material d) making class material meaningful by relating it to your everyday life experiences e) demonstrating good effort—the complexity of journal entries increases over the quarter.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Tevita O. Ka'Ili
Date: 02/27/2003