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Editor's Message

Marc Jason Gilbert


     Every world historian has their own view of which cultures, states, and regions of the world are most underserved, both in terms of scholarship and the teaching of survey courses.  Until Ben Finney's landmark essay, "The Other One-Third of the Globe," in the Journal of World History in 1994, Oceania would have, rightly or wrongly, ranked above sea-nomads, Korea, and Southeast Asia at the top of most of those dismal lists. Thereafter, the region has been deemed to be so rich in world historical process as to secure a place in most world history textbooks. One of the chief beneficiaries of this sea-change has been Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i now stands revealed to historians as what many observers had in the past long recognized: a site of long-distance migration, indigenous state formation, religious diffusion, contact-driven disease-related demographic collapse, colonialism, anti-colonial resistance and cultural synthesis as well as cultural loss and recovery.  As Forum editor Christine Skwiot remarks in her introduction to this issue's Forum on Hawai‘i and World history, Hawai‘i was, and remains, not only a "Crossroads of the Pacific," but also a crossroads of the Atlantic.  From the late eighteenth century, first as a center of trade and labor recruitment for fur traders, then as a supplier of sandalwood, and then as the winter port of the bulk of the world's whaling fleet, Hawai‘i served and still serves as a key node of a global capitalist economy connecting the Americas, Asia, and Europe.  The four articles in the Forum support that assertion while revealing Hawai‘i to be a rich resource of world historical analysis in ways both seemingly familiar (the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War) and long misrepresented or virtually unknown (globalized forms of Hawaiian resistance to Euro-American imperialism).

     The Forum is supported by several book reviews focused on Hawaii. These include a reviews of Sarah Vowel's Unfamiliar Fishes, a commentary on the intertwined histories of the Hawaiian Islands and the United States of America, Kaui Hart Hemmings' novel, The Descendants, which is the basis of a new major motion picture staring George Clooney, and "Purposes of Paradise: The Politics of U.S. Travel, Tourism, and Empire in Cuba and Hawai‘i, c 1820–1959, Forum editor's Skwiot's most recent publication.  These and other Hawaiian-oriented reviews are a testimony to the rising status of Hawai‘i on the public's mind as well as on the current world history agenda. 

     The articles section underscores this growing interest with an annotated review of recent on-line resources for the teaching Hawaii in World History. Other articles will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. These include an accessible manual for understanding world history terminology. Companion articles offer guidance drawn from a recent summer workshop on the College Board's Advanced Placement World History course revision and a "leadership" approach to teaching environmental history which analyzes the human factor in the context of changes in environmental awareness and government policies.  

     Future issues will look at art in world history, problems in teaching world history, and re-conceptualizing East Asia in world history. World History Connected welcomes the submission of articles and reviews on these and any other subject that can advance research and teaching in the still evolving and always exciting field of world history.

Marc Jason Gilbert
Hawaii Pacific University

Marc Jason Gilbert is Professor of History and National Endowment for the Humanities Endowed Chair in World History at Hawai‘i Pacific University. He can be reached at


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