Let the Memory Live Again: Creation and Recreation of Hawaiian Households

Author(s): Kirsten Vacca

Year: 2016


Investigating the use of memory allows for an increased understanding of how historical knowledge is used in the reproduction of social actions in the past and production of knowledge in the present. This paper analyzes the importance of memory in Hawaiian culture and academic literature. Many archaeological analyses of pre-European contact Hawaiian households are predicated on the writings of 19th century ethnohistorians (among others) that recorded Hawaiian oral traditions. The act of utilizing oral traditions as a form of remembering and reproducing the cultural structure through scholarship creates an image of a falsely simplistic and static society lacking in temporally and spatially diverse practices. The importance of Hawaiian cultural production and reproduction through corporeal acts of remembrance is made obvious in the current recorded Hawaiian traditions, yet the static implementation of these descriptive practices in the analytical process by archaeologists prohibits a nuanced understanding of how reproduced memories are enacted differently through time and space, instead assuming that the remembered lives of Hawaiians from one point in history are representative of an entire people through time and space. The recorded traditions should instead be utilized as an illustration of the fluidity and complexity of Hawaiian culture.

Cite this Record

Let the Memory Live Again: Creation and Recreation of Hawaiian Households. Kirsten Vacca. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404400)


Hawaii Household Memory

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;