Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jennifer Taw

Rights Information

© 2017 Kaylilani Minami


"Eh, You Māhū? An Analysis of American Cultural Imperialism in Hawai’i through the Lens of Gender and Sexuality" explores the impact of American settler colonialism on Native Hawaiian culture. This thesis magnifies the gender liminal identity of māhū to understand the intricacies of gender and sexuality as it relates to cultural formation.

Broadly, this thesis is a historical analysis of the impact Western colonization has on indigenous cultures. Specifically, this analysis starts from the introduction of haole foreigners to Hawai’i in 1778 and extends to the present-day American occupation of the Hawaiian nation. By analyzing the ways American cultural imperialism is a systemic process rather than a single historical event, this work shows how Hawaiian culture has evolved to accommodate this process over time. This thesis understands why traditional Native Hawaiian culture provided a space for māhūs to be celebrated, while contemporary Hawaiian society has varying degrees of visibility for māhūs.