Margaret Ellen Ward

Mechanisms for Transforming Colonial Relations of Power: An Analysis of the Symbolic Efficacy of Race in Hawaii, 1900-2000

Hawaii may seem like a racial paradise: rates of intermarriage are extraordinarily high, residential integration is the norm, and it lacks a history of significant racist legislation or violence. However, from the point Hawaii became U.S. territory in 1900 until the present, race has served as primary form of social vision and division. Using 1900-2000 U.S. census data, my project will analyze how race influences the distribution of economic resources in Hawaii, and why this relationship has changed over time. In doing so, I will answer whether Hawaiis racial hierarchies mask other forms of social organization – particularly along the lines of gender, citizenship, and education level – which more accurately reveal how inequality has been reproduced and transformed within this (post)colonial social landscape.

  • Major: Sociology, Social Welfare
  • Mentor: Samuel Lucas, Sociology