Program & Research

BA Students

Indigenous Politics is one of the featured focus areas of the BA program in political science. Our courses facilitate inquiry in a variety of issues including histories of interaction between Indigenous and settler peoples, the impact of settler colonialism on Indigenous life ways and thought worlds, and Indigenous engagements with states.

Our courses allow students to learn about Indigenous social movements and epistemologies, politically oriented artistic and narrative works, governing systems and ethics, and Indigenous political theory and praxis. Our course offerings critically engage notions and practices of sovereignty, self-determination, language, and land use. As an innovative program, we pride ourselves on encouraging the use and development of alternative epistemologies and methodologies that reflect Indigenous worldviews and peoples.

Students from a variety of disciplines benefit from an understanding of the historical and contemporary dimensions of Indigenous politics. We offer the 300-level courses, listed below, to all undergraduate students, regardless of major. Interested students should take any 100- or 200-level POLS course prior to enrolling in a 300-level course.

Additionally, political science majors may seek out advising for an Indigenous politics or Hawaiʻi politics focused 400-level capstone. Interested students should contact one of the core UHIP faculty members. The UHIP faculty also routinely teach a version of the required 390, Political Inquiry and Analysis, course that focuses on Indigenous and qualitative research methods.


POLS 301 Hawai'i Politics (3 credits)
Introduction to and critical study of institutions, governments, and political processes in Hawai'i. Attends to race, class, gender, sexuality, indigeneity and nationality. Grounded in Native Hawaiian perspectives, with an emphasis on comparative study and dialogue. This course is typically taught as an H-focus course, and it fulfills the DS core requirement.*

POLS 302 Native Hawaiian Politics (3 credits)
Critical study of issues in contemporary Native Hawaiian politics, with an emphasis on application and active engagement. This course is often taught as an H-focus and/or E-focus course, and it fulfills the DS core requirement.*

POLS 303 (Alpha) Topics in Hawai'i Politics (3 credits)
Intensive examination of particular institutions, processes, and issues. (B) the military in Hawai'i; (C) political thought in Hawaiian. Taught in Hawaiian. (D) politics of food. A-F only for (D). Pre: HAW 302 (or concurrent) for (C) only, sophomore standing or higher or consent. ((C) Cross-listed as HAW 428)

303B Fulfills the DS core requirement. 303C requires HAW 302 or higher as a prerequisite, and it fulfills the DH core requirement.

POLS 304 Indigenous Politics (3 credits)
Conceptualizing politics from the perspective of Indigenous epistemologies, philosophies, language, and social and political movement. Fulfills the DS core requirement.

POLS 309 Politics of Indigenous Language Revitalization (3 credits)
Study of the importance and processes of language revitalization for Indigenous peoples in Hawai'i, the Pacific, Asia, and North America. Fulfills the DS core requirement. (Taught in alternate years)

POLS 403 Community Internship
This capstone course can be, but is not necessarily, an Indigenous or Hawaiʻi politics focused course. It involves field placement integrated with academic study of political institutions and community organizations. Some of the organizations that students have interned with in the past or could potentially seek an internship with in the future include (but are not limited to):

  • KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance
  • Kokua Kalihi Valley/Hoʻoulu ʻĀina
  • Trust for Public Lands
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs
  • Hawaiʻi Peace & Justice
  • Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi