Mary Kunmi Yu Danico, Faculty, Department of Ethnic Studies, UH Mānoa

Mary Kunmi Yu Danico

Professor, Academic Advisor
Director, Center for Oral History
Office: George Hall 338
Telephone: 1 (808) 956-6963


I did not know what a 1.5 generation was until a professor in my PhD program boldly stated that I was a 1.5er. That conversation changed my life, and I wrote my first book on The 1.5 Generation: Becoming Korean American in Hawaiʻi.  As an immigrant and first-generation college student, I have always been curious about the role of family, community, and place on one's identity. My work is grounded in an anti-racist and anti-oppression framework that examines how socio-cultural factors shape us. I've lived in Seoul, Korea, Guam, San Francisco, Hawaiʻi, and Southern California and felt a sense of community at UH Mānoa.  I love to travel, cherish informal conversations, and enjoy cuisines from around the world.  Preserving memories of our elders to fill in the gaps in history is something I am honored to do. I find joy in mentoring and supporting others and feel that my purpose is to elevate the voices of those who want to be seen and heard.


  • PhD, Sociology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1998


My research centers around the intersectionality of Ethnic identity, gender sexuality, class, community formation, family, generations, and social justice. I have written extensively on Asian American communities and identities, anti-racist and anti-oppression, and I'm finishing up a manuscript on Asian American and Latino millennials and GenZ. I am also interested in oceanic ethnic studies and the Asian diaspora. My research involves mixed methodologies; however, I have centered oral histories as a primary source of collecting interviews in my work.

Community Engagement

As I am new to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, I look forward to opportunities to engage with ACCESS, student organizations, international students, and the students and community members who contribute to our oral history projects.