For a list of faculty specializations, view Faculty Specializations Chart

Alternative Futures

The Alternative Futures specialization is premised on the fact that industrial societies are undergoing such extensive and rapid change that it is impossible to map out the future simply by extending knowledge of the past or experiences of the present. The option seeks to forecast things to come, using theories of social structure and change, examining the causes and consequences of transformation, leading to the construction of alternative images of possible futures.

Hawai‘i Research Center for Futures Studies

Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics explores the differential development of politics, economics, and society in various "areas"; of the world. Some of the issues that are studied include (a) models of development and their varied impacts on different classes, regions, genders, and cultures; (b) the processes of liberalization and democratization that have been reshaping the post-cold war world; (c) the resurgence of ethnic, religious, and other movements that seem both derivative from and responses to modernity; (d) the continued relevance of colonialism and militarization in today's world; and (e) questions of identity and otherness in postcolonial societies. Emphases include Pacific and Asia.

Indigenous Politics

Indigenous Politics studies the cultural, historical, legal, and social relations that constitute indigeneity. Courses within the Department and across the University address indigenous epistemologies, philosophies, language, and social and political movements, with particular attention paid to indigenous peoples of Hawai‘i and the Pacific.

  • Program Requirements: There is currently in place an Indigenous Master's Degree option. The requirements for the Indigenous Politics option consist of two core courses in Indigenous Politics, a political science core, and a selection of electives from courses taught in other departments. Students will also have the option of focusing their interest through participating in tutorials.

Department's Indigenous Politics website

International Relations

International Relations (IR) is the study of relationships among governments, international social and migratory movements, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, transnational corporations, trade unions, and political parties. This course of study is inherently interdisciplinary.

Law & Politics

Law & Politics studies the effects of law and legal meaning on society, culture, political power, and economy. The faculty stress a diversity of methods for studying these legal phenomena, including historical, analytical, critical, doctrinal, institutional, comparative, and philosophical perspectives. Law & Politics is part of the new interdisciplinary Law, Society, and Globalization Program.

Political Theory

Political Theory covers a wide variety of intellectual traditions, focusing on interpretative, critical, hermeneutic, democratic, phenomenological, transformational, feminist, gender, contextual, nonviolent, and aesthetic approaches. The faculty shares the assumption that the meaning of the subject matter of political theory – whether it is a text, a community a revolution, or a political establishment – depends significantly on the concerns of those who presume to interpret it. Whatever is investigated is regarded as socially constructed, as constituted by the way it is perceived. Whether the focus is on a class of political philosophy, a legislative act, a health policy, or a political movement, we see ourselves engaged in imposing and exposing meanings. And we regard such activity – such as politics – as an effort to integrate theory and action.

Public Policy

Public Policy is taught by faculty from such varied bases as language analysis, choice theory, institutional analysis, outcomes, development, and futuristics, reflecting the character of both the student body and the faculty. Some courses focus on organizational theory and comparative administration. Typically, the core course in the policy field is taught to a mix of non-American students interested in the application of Western-oriented policy studies to the analysis of policy in their home country; administrators in state and local government; and students from fields that are increasingly "policy-sensitive"; (e.g., public health).