Josette Kēhaulani Kauanui is Professor of American Studies and Anthropology, and the current Chair of the American Studies Department at Wesleyan University. She earned her PhD in History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2000. After transferring from Irvine Valley College in 1989, she earned her B.A. in Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 1992.
Professor Kauanui is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and has held fellowships from: the School of Advanced Research (formerly the School of American Research), the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, Rockefeller Archives Center, National Science Foundation, Fulbright (Maori Studies, University of Auckland), and Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury. She has held an appointment as an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer, and in 2016, she was nominated to the Distinguished Speakers Bureau of the American Studies Association.
Kauanui’s first book is Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Duke University Press, 2008). Her second book project, Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Biopolitics of Statist Nationalism, examines myriad contradictions of indigeneity and self-determination vis-a-vis US domestic policy and international law (contracted with Duke University Press). She is also currently editing a book of select interviews from her public affairs radio show “Indigenous Politics,” which aired from 2007-2013 (for the University of Minnesota Press). Additionally, she is guest editing a “Retrospective” on the concept of sovereignty for the journal Cultural Anthropology. She currently has several other book projects in-progress: Nothing Common About ‘The Commons’; Indigenous Implications of Palestine Solidarity Activism; Decolonizing Traditions: Native Hawaiian Women and the Question of Feminism; and Hawaiian New England: Christian Conversions and Colonial Grammars.
Kauanui’s essays appear in the following edited books, among others: Critically Sovereign: Indigenous Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, Ed. Joanne Barker (forthcoming, Duke University Press); Ethnographies of US Empire, Eds. Carole McGranahan and John Collins (forthcoming Duke University Press); Formations of United States Colonialism, Ed. Alyosha Goldstein (Duke University Press 2014); A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land, and Sovereignty, Eds. Noelani Goodyear-Ka’opua, Ikaika Hussey, Erin Kahunawaika′ala Wright (Duke University Press 2014); Recognition, Sovereignty Struggles, and Indigenous Rights in the United States: A Sourcebook, Eds. Amy Den Ouden and Jean M. O’Brien (University of North Carolina Press 2013); Decolonizing Native Histories, Ed. Florencia E. Mallon (Duke University Press 2011); Beyond the Frame: Women of Color and Visual Representation, Eds. Neferti Tadiar, and Angela Y. Davis (Palgrave Macmillan 2005); and Asian American Studies After Critical Mass, Ed. Kent Ono (Wiley-Blackwell 2005).
Her work also appears in the following journals: South Atlantic Quarterly, The American Quarterly, Politica & Società, American Studies, Comparative American Studies, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, American Indian Quarterly, Amerasia Journal, Mississippi Review, The Contemporary Pacific, The Hawaiian Journal of History, `Oiwi: Native Hawaiian Journal, and Social Text. Kauanui has also written on Hawaiian sovereignty politics for the Guardian UK, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser, and The Honolulu Weekly.
Kauanui has co-edited three special issues of the following journals: “Women Writing Oceania: Weaving the Sails of the Waka,” Pacific Studies (2007) with Caroline Sinavaiana; “Native Pacific Cultural Studies on the Edge,” The Contemporary Pacific (2001) with Vicente M. Diaz; and “Migrating Feminisms,” Women’s Studies International Forum (1998) with Kalpana Ram.
She serves on the editorial boards of the following journals: Settler Colonial Studies; American Indian Quarterly; and Hulili: Multidisciplinary Research on Hawaiian Well-Being; Also, from 2005-2010, she served as an editorial board member for Journal of Pacific History. Kauanui serves on the advisory boards of the following journals: Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism; and Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific. Additionally, she served on the editorial board for the School of American Research (now the School of Advanced Research) Press from 2007-2009.
From February 2007 through June 2013, she served as the sole producer and host of a public affairs radio program, “Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond,” which was produced in the studios of WESU, Middletown, CT. The show was widely syndicated across a dozen states on Pacifica radio affiliate stations. Past episodes are archived online: www.indigenouspolitics.com.
Additionally, she was a member of The Dream Committee, a radio collective that produced a program that ran from September 2010 through May 2013 called “Horizontal Power Hour” (also on WESU), which featured anarchist culture, politics, and philosophies. All 59 past episodes are archived online: http://horizontalpowerhour.wordpress.com/.
In February 2014, with a new group of students, Kauanui helped launch a program called “Anarchy on Air,” which is produced and broadcast through WESU. The program emerged from her course, “Anarchy in America: From Haymarket to Occupy Wall Street.” Past episodes are archived here: http://anarchyonairwesu.tumblr.com/.
Kauanui also served as the 2008 President of the New England American Studies Association. From 2005-2008, Kauanui was part of a six-person steering committee that worked to found the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). From 2008-2009, she served as an acting council member. From 2009-2012, she served as an elected as a member of the inaugural council. She also served as an elected member the national council of the American Studies Association (2013-2016).
Kauanui proudly serves on the advisory board for the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and was active in the academic boycott efforts within the American Studies Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, as well as the American Anthropological Association.