Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences (2019–21)
US pre-1900, 2012
Long-nineteenth-century American Pacific World; Hawai’i, the U.S. West, and Australia; public health, medicine, and technology; mobility, commerce, and urbanization; race, indigeneity, and migration; empire and colonization; visual and material culture
The Sanitary Sieve: Public Health, Infectious Diseases, and the Urbanization of Honolulu, c. 1850-1914
I am a scholar of public health, mobility, and race in the long-nineteenth-century United States and Pacific World. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Social Sciences Teaching Fellow in the Department of History and the College.
My current book project, The Sanitary Sieve: Public Health, Mobility, and the Making of the Urban Pacific World, 1850-1920, examines how public health officials, Native Hawaiians, and East Asian immigrants transformed Honolulu from a placid mid-Pacific harbor into a vital disease-screening checkpoint for the Hawaiian Islands, the Pacific Basin, and America’s overseas empire. Nineteenth-century steamships fully integrated Hawai‘i into a thriving Pacific World, rendering Honolulu a catalyst for the circulation of infectious diseases. While disproportionately plaguing indigenous and immigrant urbanites, these epidemic connections also threatened transpacific commerce and America’s growing imperial influence. Through a transurban analysis of health reports, legislation, and newspapers, I argue that Honolulu assumed a unique responsibility as the Pacific’s “sanitary sieve.” By policing the mobility of nonwhite communities, pitting vaccination programs against quarantine laws, and reconfiguring the seaport’s built and natural environments, public health officials transformed Honolulu into an urban clearinghouse that could filter out diseases traversing the Pacific. Such efforts did not go unchallenged however, as urbanites and islanders alike sought recourse through quotidian forms of resistance and Hawai‘i’s evolving court system. Ultimately, legal battles and public disputes over urban epidemics, racial difference, and medical authority in this mid-Pacific “paradise” tempered American imperial ascendancy beyond the western seaboard of the United States.
“The Brothel of the Pacific”: Syphilis and the Urban Regulation of Laikini Wahine in Honolulu, 1855-75,” Journal of Pacific History (2019)