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Hawaiian studies is an academic discipline dedicated to the study of Hawaiians. It evolved in the second half of the 20th century partly in response to charges that traditional disciplines such as anthropology, history, English language, ethnology, Asian Studies, and orientalism were imbued with an inherently eurocentric perspective. Ethnic Studies has mostly been a study of minority settler cultures although Hawaiian Studies shares with Ethnic Studies attempts to remedy problems with other academic disciplines by trying to study Hawaiian culture and people on their own terms, in their own language, acknowledging their own values.
In Hawaii, the discipline of Hawaiian Studies evolved out of the Civil Rights Movement and early 1970s, which saw growing self-awareness and radicalization of American Indians and Decolonization struggles around the world. Hawaiian Studies courses and then departments were established on campus around Hawaii. Thinkers like Frantz Fanon, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and Linda Tuhiwai Smith influence Hawaiian Studies.
While early Hawaiian Studies scholarship focused on the previously repressed histories and identities of Hawaiian groups within the context of the U.S., over time the field of study has expanded to encompass ontological/epistemological philosophy, transnationalism, comparative race studies and postmodernist/poststructuralist critiques. While pioneering thinkers relied on frameworks, theories and methodologies such as those found in the allied fields of sociology, history, literature and film, scholars in the field today utilize multidisciplinary as well as comparative perspectives, increasingly within an international or transnational context.
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