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(Re)Generations Program Series: The “Polynesian Problem”: Louis Sullivan’s Search for the “Pure Polynesian Type”

With Maile Arvin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History and Gender Studies, University of Utah 

Thursday, August 12, 2021
6:00 PM  –  7:30 PM

Bishop Museum Members/General: Freewith preregistration
You must preregister online to receive the link to this program.*

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From their earliest encounters with Indigenous Pacific Islanders, white Europeans and Americans asserted an identification with the racial origins of Polynesians, declaring them to be racially almost white and speculating that they were of Mediterranean or Aryan descent. In the early 20th century, physical anthropologists like Louis Sullivan, whose work and legacy are at the heart of the (Re)Generations exhibit, tried to scientifically prove the long-lost white ancestry of Polynesians with the methods of anthropometry (the measurement and comparison of human physical features). This talk discusses Sullivan’s studies of the Polynesian race within the broader contexts of white settlers’ search for Polynesian origins in Asia or South America, often referred to as the “Polynesian Problem,” and eugenics, which at the time was a professional field that Sullivan fully participated in. This talk will also consider how Native Hawaiians and other Polynesians might think about confronting and refusing the legacies of these settler colonial and racist ideas which Sullivan and others perpetuated.

Dr. Maile Arvin is an assistant professor of History and Gender Studies at the University of Utah. She is a Native Hawaiian feminist scholar who works on issues of race, gender, science, and colonialism in Hawai‘i and the broader Pacific. At the University of Utah, she is co-director of Pacific Islands Studies. Dr. Arvin’s talk is drawn from her book Possessing Polynesians: The Science of Settler Colonial Whiteness in Hawaiʻi and Oceania, was published with Duke University Press in 2019. 

The (Re)Generations Program Series is presented in conjunction with the (Re)Generations: Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaiʻi exhibition on display in the J. M. Long Gallery from February 20 – October 24, 2021.

The (Re)Generations Program Series is generously supported by the McInerny Foundation, Bank of Hawaii, Trustee. 

Online Event Details: 

  • The program platform is Zoom, the free video conferencing software.  
  • A stable internet connection is required.  
  • The program waiting room will open at 5:45 p.m. and the presentation begins at 6 p.m. 
  • Give yourself time to log in and plan ahead. If you have a problem at 6 p.m., when the program begins, you may miss some of the program. 
  • Your Zoom display name must match the name you registered under. Only attendees whose names match the registrant list will be admitted from the Zoom waiting room.   
  • Members, pleaseLoginto the Museum website. If it is your first timeon the Museum website, click Register to create a login and password. For your membership account to be recognized in the system, you must use the name and contact information for the primary member listed on your membership.

 

* If you do not see an email response with the link to the program, check your spam/junk folder. If it is not there, please email visitorexperience@bishopmuseum.orgThe Visitor Experience office hours are 8 a.m.–5 p.m. 

 

 

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Date

Aug 12 2021

Time

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

More Info

Register Online
Virtual Event

Location

Virtual Event
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

Organizer

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
Register Online

OPEN DAILY 9 AM – 5 PM

1525 BERNICE STREET
HONOLULU, HAWAI’I 96817

OPEN DAILY 9 AM – 5 PM

1525 BERNICE STREET
HONOLULU, HAWAI’I 96817