Dr Leilani Basham

Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language, University of Hawai‘i-West O‘ahu

Dr Leilani Basham is an alumni of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Dr Basham has a PhD in Political Science, a Master’s degree in the history of the Pacific Islands and a Bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies. She is an Assistant Professor in Hawaiian-Pacific Studies at the University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu. Dr Basham’s research centres on understanding Hawaiian history, political and cultural knowledge, and practice from a Hawaiian perspective, using predominantly Hawaiian language resources. Specific areas of research include mele lāhui, Hawaiian identity and value systems, as well as Hawaiian sexuality. Her book project is entitled "Nā Mele Lāhui: E Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono," and it analyzes hundreds of mele lāhui (nationalist poetic texts) published between 1893 and 1898. In addition to her university studies, Basham spent fifteen years studying hula under her kumu (teacher), graduating as an ‘ōlapa (dancer) and a kumu hula. Currently, she is the kumu hula of her own hālau (private hula academy).

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