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Critical Pacific Islands Studies Library Guide


Welcome to the Critical Pacific Islands Studies Library Guide!

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The library guide serves as a starting point for researchers, community members, and students interested in Critical Pacific Islands Studies. It highlights resources from the UC Berkeley library collections but also provides links to materials found at other institutions and freely accessible elsewhere. While it is intended to help users navigate the UC Berkeley Library system, it is also intended to provide resources for community members on learning more about Critical Pacific Islands Studies in general. This guide prioritizes resources by and for Pacific Islanders. 

As described by the City College of San Francisco, "Critical Pacific Islands Studies is the critical analysis of Pacific peoples and cultures in the U.S. diaspora and beyond examining colonization, imperialism, militarization, social movements, and immigration through academic and community-based scholarship and practices." The discipline privileges the diverse voices of native Pacific Islanders and is interdisciplinary at its core. There is also growing use of the term “Oceania” to describe Pacific communities and their relationship with the land and ocean, not simply as island people but also Ocean people and not just as island nations, but Ocean nations, departing from the language of colonization.

While Pacific Islands courses and seminars have existed within Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, and other departments, there is currently no formal academic program for Critical Pacific Islands Studies at UC Berkeley. Students and alumni throughout the years have advocated and fought for an established program which continues to this day.

To create a research guide on Critical Pacific Islands Studies also brings into question what "research" really means and how Western research has been an integral part of the violence of colonization. Knowing that academia has tended to privilege the written and printed word, this guide also acknowledges and uplifts oral histories and traditions, art, music, and other ways of knowing and sharing knowledge as just as, if not more, important as peer-reviewed scholarly work. One may notice that traditional academic disciplines such as Anthropology and History are not as prevalent in this guide. Rather than uncritically highlight resources in these fields which have tended to exploit and misrepresent Pacific Islands communities, this guide prioritizes work by and for Pacific Islands people and communities, especially in fields such as Ethnic Studies. Please check back often as this library guide will be continually updated.

Please note that at the Ethnic Studies Library, Pacific Islands Studies-related books are primarily located in Native American Studies, with additional resources in Comparative Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies.

Pacific Islands Studies Programs

San Francisco State University -- Critical Pacific Islands and Oceania Studies Minor

Using an interdisciplinary approach, students will evaluate theoretical frameworks in the study of race, ethnicity, and cultural formations, to assess socio-cultural issues specific to Pacific Islander communities and their impact on life in the U.S. diaspora. Topics such as colonization, immigration, and identity formations can be explained through the lens of Critical Race Theory.  A cornerstone of the program is to apply indigenous epistemologies and methodologies (derived from Pacific cultures) to the same socio-cultural issues in the Pacific U.S. diaspora. Students apply a comparative analysis to Pacific Islander realities in the U.S. diaspora in relation to socio-cultural structures. Deliberate use of indigenous Oceania frameworks challenges earlier scholarly works in the field that have not considered indigenous epistemologies to explain social/cultural phenomena, and, that have structured the way the world “knows” the Pacific and Oceania. The program provides opportunities to develop strategies to address inequalities and propose new paradigms in areas such as health, wellness, and education from inside the classroom that in turn become the inspirations for indigenous research.

City College of San Francisco -- Critical Pacific Islander and Oceania Studies

The Critical Pacific Islands Studies Certificate of Accomplishment introduces students to a critical analysis of Pacific peoples and cultures in the U.S. diaspora and beyond. Privileging the voices of native Pacific Islanders, the interdisciplinary curriculum explores a plethora of historical and contemporary topics, including colonization, militarization, social movements, and immigration, through the use of academic and community-based scholarship. All required courses are University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU)-transferable and meet City College of San Francisco General Education (GE) area requirements A (Communication & Analytical Thinking), C (Natural Sciences), D (Behavioral and Social Sciences) E (Humanities), H1 (Ethnic Studies).

City College of San Mateo -- Critical Pacific Islands and Oceania Studies Certificate of Achievement

The Critical Pacific Islands & Oceania Studies Certificate of Achievement is an 18-20 unit certificate that introduces students to a critical analysis of Pacific peoples and cultures in the U.S. diaspora and beyond. Privileging the voices of native Pacific Islanders, the interdisciplinary curriculum explores historical and contemporary topics such as colonization, militarization, social movements, and immigration, through the use of academic and community-based scholarship. All required courses are University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU)-transferable and meet College of San Mateo General Education (GE) area requirements. Although the certificate is ideal for those whose careers involve working with native Pacific Islanders and other communities of color such as service providers, health practitioners, law enforcement, researchers, teachers, and other professionals, the primary goal is to encourage students to further their educational aspirations through the completion of an associate's degree and successful transfer to a four-year university.

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa -- Center for Pacific Islands Studies

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies, in the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, is both an academic department and a larger home for initiatives that bring together people and resources to promote an understanding of the Pacific Islands and issues of concern to Pacific Islanders.


The University of Auckland, New Zealand -- Pacific Studies

The University of Auckland offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral study in Pacific Studies. 

The Ethnic Studies Library

The Ethnic Studies Library

The Ethnic Studies Library is the departmental library of the Department of Ethnic Studies. It was established in 1997 by merging the Asian American Studies Library, the Chicano Studies Library, and the Native American Studies Library. Since the founding of the Department following the Third World Liberation Front student strike in 1969, the collections of these libraries grew from student interest in collecting and preserving a perspective by and for racialized communities that they saw as lacking or marginalized in other campus libraries. The specialized ethnic studies books and serials, archival collections, posters, and audio collections from those three libraries live on in a centralized space on the ground floor of Stephens Hall, a short walk from Barrows Hall. The library consists of these four collections: Asian American Studies Collection; Chicano Studies Collection; Native American Studies Collection; Comparative Ethnic Studies Collection. In addition to our collections, the ESL regularly hosts events, ESL librarians provide reference and instruction for the department and larger campus community, and takes recommendations on purchasing books in the field of Ethnic Studies. Visit the Ethnic Studies Library website for more information.

Community users are welcome to use the Ethnic Studies Library archives and facilities. In addition, there are six public computers which allow access to selected UC Berkeley library databases. Books can only be checked out by cardholders. Community members and students at other universities or colleges may also have access to UC Berkeley library card. For more information, visit the library resource page on Library cards for non-UCB patrons.

Getting Help

Need help??  Contact a librarian!

Research help: 24/7 chat, in person, by e-mail, etc.

Sine Hwang Jensen - Asian American and Comparative Ethnic Studies Librarian, Ethnic Studies Library

Melissa Stoner - Native American Studies Librarian, Ethnic Studies Library

Lillian Castillo-Speed  - Chicano Studies and Head Librarian, Ethnic Studies Library  

Corliss Lee - Liaison to Ethnic Studies, Doe and Moffitt Libraries

Purchase Recommendation

Purchase Recommendation

You can suggest items that the Library should consider purchasing. Use the Purchase Recommendation form to submit your suggestion.

Doe Library, North Reading Room