Laurel Mei Singh, Faculty, Department of Ethnic Studies, UH Mānoa

Laurel Mei-Singh

Assistant Professor
Office: George Hall 305
Telephone: 1 (808) 956-3484

Browse My Publications:


Born and raised near Lēahi on Oʻahu, I developed a fascination with the mutual relationship between humans and the environment and eventually earned a PhD in Geography. Now, my teaching and research uncover the dynamic relationship between environmental processes and social formations that include racial capitalism, indigeneity, and militarism. My interactive teaching encourages students to reflect on their own experiences while analyzing and connecting them to broad political and historical processes. This enables students to develop their own ideas so they can interrogate the processes that shape their worlds and imagine how to transform it.


  • PhD, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geography) with a certificate in American Studies, City University of New York Graduate Center, 2016
  • MPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 2006
  • BA, English, University of California, Los Angeles, 2004


My research interests include land and militarization, the relationship of race and indigeneity to histories of war, fences and self-determination, racial capitalism, and Oceania. I am writing a book that develops a genealogy of military fences and grassroots struggles for land and livelihood in Wai‘anae, a heavily militarized region of the west side of Oʻahu. While Hawai‘i functions as the command center for military operations across half the earth’s surface from India to California, I argue that the military does not simply impose itself on the islands. Rather, grassroots community initiatives reveal significant capacity to shift the structures and logics undergirding militarization.

Community Engagement

Devoted to public scholarship, also known as scholar-activism, I have participated in community organizing efforts in Hawai‘i, New York City, and Trenton, New Jersey. In Hawai‘i, I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Hawai‘i Peace and Justice and have previously worked with the Wai‘anae Environmental Justice Working Group to organize the Wai‘anae Film Series. In the past, I have also served on the board of directors of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities based in New York City, building intergenerational power amongst working class Asian immigrants. I also participated in the organizing committee of the Trenton People’s Bookfair.