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

Laurel Mei-Singh

Assistant Professor
Office: George Hall 305
1 (808) 956-3484
meisingh@hawaii.edu


Browse My Publications:

Background

Born and raised near Lēahi on Oʻahu, I am thrilled to join the faculty at the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa. Fascinated by the mutual relationship between humans and the environment, I 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 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.

Education

  • 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

Research

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 work with the Wai‘anae Environmental Justice Working Group to organize the Wai‘anae Film Series, and have volunteered with Hawai‘i Peace and Justice. I also serve as a member of the board of directors for CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities based in New York City, building intergenerational power amongst working class Asian immigrants. I am also part of the organizing committee of the annual Trenton People’s Bookfair.