Imagine Otherwise: Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart on Transgenerational Inspiration

Apr 1, 2021 | Podcast

Finding Inspiration Across Generations

Spring is normally a time of emergence and inspiration but many scholars, artists, and organizers are struggling after a year spent inside and a pandemic that is still far from over.

In episode 130 of Imagine Otherwise, I interview Kānaka Maoli food studies scholar Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart. Hi‘ilei’s approach to scholarly and activist inspiration brings the rich histories and futures of Indigenous community building to bear on her daily practices of writing and living during the pandemic.

In our interview, Hiʻilei and I chat about using scholarly research to do justice to ancestors and communities, the future of Indigenous food sovereignty activism, and why connecting individual healing practices like gardening to collective movements for decolonization is key to how Hiʻilei imagines otherwise.

Hi'ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart. Quote reads: As a Native Hawaiian scholar, I'm constantly reminded that there's a community at home that's going to read this work. I'm also doing this work for my ancestors, thinking about the historical wrongs of occupation and dispossession. That's pretty good motivation to keep going.
Hi'ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart. Quote reads: I'd like to see a de-occupied Pacific. I'd like to see the dismantling of white supremacy. I'd like to see a world in which our food systems can be self-determined. I think of an otherwise world as a world in which many worlds can fit.

Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart

Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Her research and teaching investigates Indigenous foodways, Pacific Island studies, settler colonialism, urban infrastructure, and the performance of taste.

Hiʻilei’s book Cooling the Tropics: Ice, Indigeneity, and Hawaiian Refreshment is forthcoming from Duke University Press and traces the social history of comestible ice in Hawaiʻi through the sensorial and affective dimensions of Native dispossession. In particular, she reveals how personal and political investments in coldness facilitate ideas about race, belonging, comfort, and leisure in the Pacific.

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