Hawaiians Who Left Hawai'i: Work, Body, and Environment in the Pacific World, 1786-1876


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the labor and environmental history of the nineteenth-century Pacific World. Focusing on indigenous Hawaiian labor, it argues that in the century prior to “coolies” and “blackbirding”—trans-Pacific labor regimes that only rose to prominence in the latter half of the nineteenth century—Hawaiian workers were a significant and highly sought-after labor force in the trans-Pacific economy. For nearly a century, from the 1780s to the 1870s, Hawaiian men labored in extractive industries all across the Pacific, from China to Hawai'i to California and on ships at sea. Through their experiences of wage work and migrant labor these men encountered foreign and diverse peoples and environments, and their stories and songs helped to integrate the Pacific World.