Anthropology at the University of Hawaiʻi

As an original land grant institution, the University of Hawai`i shoulders particular responsibility to the community. We recognize the fragility of island ecosystems – including their cultural, intellectual, and natural resources. Thus, we place firm commitment in upholding responsibilities to those resources, exploring past conditions of settlement, challenging existing stereotypes of interaction, and developing means of leadership in ourselves and our students for the future. The broad-based knowledge upheld by anthropology provides us with the strength of our differences to embrace that stewardship. This is how we conceptualize kuleana.

We extend the concept of kuleana to

  • the land and people around us
  • the work that we do as growing scholars
  • the community that we build through our interactions
  • the teaching and learning that are foundational to the department

Kuleana defines the ethical basis upon which we establish who we are and what we do as anthropologists. If anthropology is the study of humankind in all its interactions, symbols, objects, emotions, meaning systems, and struggles through time, then kuleana embeds itself as the highest principle of respect and obligation within that endeavor.