Hawaiian Women’s Sexual Labor, Commercial Capitalism & US Commerce in 1820s

March 10, 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Mānoa Campus, Sakamaki Hall A201 & via zoom

Centering Hawaiian women in foreign arrivals to Hawai‘i, from 1780s – 1840s, shows how these women drew on an understanding of their world to become the primary traders of goods and sexual services. This vantage point orients our attention to the multiplicity of forces including Hawaiian and foreign governance, commercial, and religious interests that sought to govern Hawaiian women, their sexual practices, and their partners. This talk, "“Nani wale ka ikena, na pua i Kalona”: Hawaiian Women’s Sexual Labor, Commercial Capitalism, and American Commerce in 1820s Hawaiʻi," will examine how the 1820s ushered in early commercial capitalism. The development of commerce in Hawai‘i cannot be told without Hawaiian women. It was their sexual availability that boosted commerce – retail, agriculture, shipping, and whaling – for both Hawaiians and Americans. Sharing examples of intimacy and desire, this talk draws on a larger dissertation project about Hawaiian women as active agents, rather than coerced victims, broadening our understanding how the trade of sexual labor and goods with foreigners offered opportunities for the accrual of imports. About the speaker: Catherine ʻĪmaikalani Ulep is a Kanaka Maoli Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota’s history department. Her focuses are Kānaka Maoli history, early American history, Labor history, and Women’s and Gender history. She enjoys researching sites in which Indigenous gender systems, material culture, and cross-cultural relations intersect. Email yuma@hawaii.edu for the zoom link.

Event Sponsor
History, Mānoa Campus

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