A Queer Dig: Kanaka Maoli Gendered and Temporal (Archaeo)logics in Kumu Hina

Mary Zaborskis, Elizabeth Reich

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The 2014 documentary Kumu Hina describes protagonist and narrator Hina as a trans woman though she teaches viewers and students at a Hawaiian charter school about her non-trans māhū identity. The settler colonial effects of equating “trans” and “māhū” reverberate across multiple relationships in the documentary, as we learn about Hina’s protection of burial grounds of her community’s ancestors from a construction project, recent marriage in Fiji, and student who also identifies “in the middle.” The documentary reveals the construction site, archipelagos, and school all as archaeological time-spaces wherein Hina negotiates māhū preservation, continuity, and futurity despite colonial mediation. Despite the film’s circulation within a global LGBTQI+ movement, Hina asks audiences to understand Kanaka Maoli epistemologies and life as comprehensive, neither alternative to nor assimilable with settler LGBTQI+ frameworks. Extending works by Sylvia Wynter, Katherine McKittrick, and Mark Rifkin, we examine Kanaka Maoli gendered inhabitations of the archipelago spatio-temporally and as impossible to reconcile either as “past” or within LGBTQI+ futures. In structural and representational tensions between Hina’s work and disciplinary institutions of school, city-planning, marriage, and the medium of documentary itself, we find a living (archaeo)logics incommensurate with settler colonial time and epistemologies.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)19-42
    Number of pages24
    JournalFeminist Formations
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Literature and Literary Theory
    • Philosophy
    • Cultural Studies
    • Gender Studies

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