Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (PACE)
Department of Political Science (POLS)
Public Policy Center (PPC)
I grew up in Milwaukee and got all my degrees at the University of Wisconsin.
Then I began gradually to move from the Midwest, through Iowa and
California, until I got to Honolulu. I have been on the University of Hawai'i
faculty most of the time since 1972. Before that I taught at Grinnell College. I
have also taught at Carleton College and Northwestern University. Along with
my work in the political science department, I helped found the University's
Program on Conflict Resolution, which is part of a national network of such
programs funded by the Hewlett Foundation. I directed that UH program for a
couple of years. So I do some mediation and some research on that subject in
addition to my main focus.
My research and teaching is very much influenced by the law and social
science field. Intellectually and professionally I am closer to the Law and
Society Association than I am to any political science group. My research
topics are pretty diverse, but over the last couple of years, after some brief
but interesting breaks in London to study spiritual healing in the UK, I have
returned to my old interest in the politics of rights. The focus has changed.
My earlier work centered on litigation strategies, especially on the issue of
why people mobilize law. Now I am more concerned with everyday use of
rights discourses and practices and on the ways rights talk catalyses the
imagination. My UH colleague Jon Goldberg Hiller and I are doing some joint
work on this. This has led me to a reconsideration of a topic I looked at it the
past, the way people define ownership. So I am looking at the way
condominium laws in Hawai'i reconstituted social and physical space and the
"lessons" people have learned about living in and accepting this space.