Welcome to the Political Science Alumni newsletter!
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Political Science Alumni Newsletter

University of Hawai'i, Manoa

Welcome to our first Alumni Newsletter!

Since its creation as a department in the 1940s, many have graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in political science. Our alumni have gone on to great things in Hawaii, around the United States, and Internationally. We realized it was time to begin to connect this network of individuals together. Not only are we interested in finding out what our past graduates are doing, but we very much want to provide our current students with a sense of the possibilities opened up by their degree. 

The Department of Political Science will be sending out an alumni newsletter about 4 times a year.  We will use this forum to announce alumni and departmental events; to spotlight some of the amazing students, faculty, and alumni in our community; and to provide some insight into what is going on in the department.  Between newsletters, please visit our department website or Facebook page for the most up to date information on departmental news and events.

We look forward to communicating with all of you and to growing our alumni community!

Alumni Event Announcements

Summer Reception
July 2014
(Date and Time TBA)
We will hold our inaugural Alumni Summer Reception this year.  Please stay tuned for more details, and your chance to RSVP.
Please join us at our weekly departmental colloquia, which feature faculty, graduate students, alumni, and guest speakers!  

Graduate Student Spotlight: Brianne Gallagher

This year Brianne is the 2013–2014 Predoctoral Fellow at the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The theme of the Center this year draws inspiration from the publication of Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective over forty years ago. Our Bodies, Ourselves is a landmark of feminist organization and knowledge production with respect to women’s health and sexuality. She participates in a highly interdisciplinary research seminar with faculty from Hobart and William Smith Colleges who are research fellows at the Fisher Center. All of their projects position bodies and embodiment as sites of problems of care, knowledge, and organization. We meet on a regular basis to engage each other’s research and attend the Fisher Center colloquiums.
She teaches two courses at The Fisher that center on her dissertation topic of “The Biopolitics of the U.S. Soldier’s Wounded Body: Gender and the Global War on Terror.” During the Fall semester, she taught an intermediate course on “Veteran Activism, Gender, and the Global War on Terror” and this Spring semester she is teaching an advanced–level course on “The Wounded Body of War.” It has been a wonderful opportunity to teach courses that center on her dissertation research and to have so many students in her classes who are enthusiastic about their critical approach to these topics. She's enjoying teaching, writing, attending Conferences, and meeting new faculty and students. She plans on defending her dissertation this Spring semester and looks forward to seeing everyone soon.

Undergraduate Major Student Spotlight: Rio Kwon

Rio Kwon is a junior double majoring in Political Science and English. He currently serves on the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii at Manoa as a Senator of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, representing 14,000 undergraduates. While on ASUH, he plays a role in the advocacy process by representing student voices at the Legislature and ensuring that ASUH remains an accessible institution for advocacy of student issues. He is also a Student Ambassador of the College of Social Sciences, helping to enhance the College’s visibility on campus by promoting opportunities and events provided by the College.

In the spring of 2013, he served as a Congressional Intern for the office of Senator Brian Schatz in Washington, D.C. This internship allowed him to reaffirm his passion for service and helped him gain a better understanding of policies that not only affect our nation but our state as well. With the experiences he gained through this internship, he hopes to pursue a career in law and eventually a career in politics.

He is personally interested in International Relations, specifically Korea and inter-Korean relations and the issue of reunification of the divided nation. Being Korean American, he enjoys learning about Korean political and economic development and the role of the Developmental State in shaping Korea’s prosperity today. While American influence in East Asia remains significant, he is anticipating what kind of a role the Asia-Pacific pivot of American foreign policy will play in the future of East Asia. 

Undergraduate Minor Student Spotlight: Jennifer Wong

Jennifer is a Junior majoring in Journalism, English and minoring in Political Science. She works in the Office of Student Life and Development as a Programming Associate for the New Student Orientation program and interns at KHON2 News and The Hawaii Independent. Aside from her professional work, Jennifer dances hula for Hokulani DeRego for Hālau Hula 'O Hokulani and competes in the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. Among many other things, Jennifer is most interested in the role of politics in Hawaii's unique culture, especially that of land rights.
In Fall 2012, Jennifer first served as a Senator for the Associated Students of the University of Hawai'i's (ASUH) 101st Senate, the undergraduate student government representing over 14,000 undergraduate students. The following year,Jennifer and her colleague, ASUH Vice President Francesca Koethe, wrote a resolution against UH's lease renewal on Mauna a Wākea. Since their legislation faced much opposition from voting members, Jennifer and Francesca got to work. They contacted experts and did their research about the sacred mountain. In the end, the legislation was passed and was sent to key decision makers of the state and University administrative levels.
While Jennifer no longer serves as a Senator in ASUH, she is putting her journalistic skills to use by writing stories related to land and native issues, bringing light to these important issues.

Alumni Spotlight: Summer Starr

Summer Starr graduated with an M.A. in Political Science with a specialization in Indigenous Politics in the Spring of 2010. The program, particularly working with the exemplary faculty, was a transformative and challenging experience for which she expresses much gratitude. She went on to present at on the topic of decolonization at the NAISA conference in Arizona, the International Conference on Degrowth in Montreal, and the Symposium Conference in Greece.
In 2012 she graduated from the Vermont Law School with a Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy. In the fall of 2011, while on the East Coast in the Fall of 2011, Summer was able to be an on the ground participant at Occupy Wall Street. Witnessing the kindness and dedication of strangers from all walks of life, the capacity for effective, decentralized, horizontal organization, and the fearlessness of those involved was incredibly inspiring and emboldening.
In the spring of 2014, Summer will be moving to Vancouver, BC to serve as the CEO for a web based startup, which is rooted in challenging oppressive economic doctrines and being a living demonstration that gift economy can be not only profitable but beneficial, self-sustaining, creative and productive.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Myungji Yang

Assistant Professor Myungji Yang joins us this year as a Korean politics specialist through the generous support of The Korean Foundation.  The department was honored to receive the first Korean Studies Endowed Rotating Chair position and Professor Yang is the first to hold this position.  After completing her B.A. and M.A. at Yongsei University in South Korea, she received her Ph.D. from Brown.  Her research focuses on the building of the middle class in Korea and China in the context of authoritarian regimes.  Her comparative approach and focus on the politics of development bring an important point of view to the program.  She is currently revising her dissertation for publication.

What we are reading this semester:

In classes:
  • Chadwick Allen, Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies
  • David Treuer, Rez Life
  • Chang Rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea
  • Roddy Doyle, The Guts
  • Laszlo Krasznahorkai, War & War
  • Daniel Alarcon, At Night We Walk in Cirlces: A Novel
  • Henry Venmore-Rowland, The Last Caesar
  • Charlotte Rogan, The Lifeboat
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland
  • Colleen McCullough, The First Man in Rome
  • Suzanne Collins,  Mockingjay
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, The Word for World is Forest
  • Laurie King, The Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series
  • Anne Carson, Decreation
  • Mary Gabriel, Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx
  • Francois Zourabichvili, Deleuze: A Philosophy of the Event: Together with The Vocabulary of Deleuze
  • Marc Djaballah, Kant, Foucault, and Forms of Experience
  • Gregoire Chamayou, Manhunts: A Philosophical History
  • George B. Dyson, Darwin Among the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence
  • Anabel Hernandez, Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers
  • Siegfried Zielinksi, […After the Media]: News for the Slow-Fading Twentieth Century
  • David Kilcullen, Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla
  • Jonthan Sperber,  Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life
  • Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms
  • Joshua Freeman, American Empire 1945-2000
  • Patrick Wilcken, Claude Levi-Strauss: The Poet in the Laboratory
  • William Holland, Nomad Citizenship: Free Market Communism and the Slow-Motion General Strike
  • Fermin Rocker, The East End Years: A Stepney Childhood
  • Claire Hemmings, Why Stories Matter
  • Waleed Hazbun, Beaches, Ruins, Resorts: The Politics of Tourism in the Arab World
Would you like to be featured in our alumni spotlight?  Do you have an event or other information that you would like to share?  Send us an email:
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License2014 Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii at Manoa

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