Department of Anthropology

Hi'ilei Hobart

Assistant ProfessorPhD, Food Studies, New York University

Hi'ilei Hobart



Food, Temperature, Settler Colonialism, Embodiment, Aesthetics, Indigeneity, Hawaiʻi, Everyday Life


She holds a PhD in Food Studies from New York University, an MA in Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture from the Bard Graduate Center and an MLS in Archives Management and Rare Books from the Pratt Institute. Her research is broadly concerned with Indigenous foodways, Pacific Island studies, settler colonialism, urban infrastructure, and the performance of taste. Her book Cooling the Tropics: Ice, Indigeneity, and Hawaiian Refreshment (forthcoming, Duke University Press) on the social history of comestible ice in Hawai’i investigates the thermal dimensions of Native Hawaiian dispossession. In particular, she is interested in how personal and political investments in coldness facilitate ideas about race, belonging, comfort, and leisure in the Pacific.


ANT 324L • Race Indigineity In Pacific

31925 • Spring 2022
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WCP 4.118

Since the so-called Age of Discovery, the Pacific has been conceptualized as a crossroads between the East and the West. By the twentieth century, places like Hawaiʻi came to be idealized as harmonious multicultural societies. Drawing from works within Indigenous studies, ethnic studies, and critical race studies, students will address themes of sovereignty, settler colonialism, diaspora, and migration in order to interrogate and problematize the concept of the multicultural ‘melting pot’ across time. This course draws upon a number of disciplinary approaches to race, space, power, and culture to address questions that are central to people living across the Pacific and those who seek “R&R” in those “far away” places.  

ANT 391 • Sovereign Bodies

32120 • Spring 2022
Meets TH 2:00PM-5:00PM WCP 5.118

This graduate seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to theorizing bodies, power, and the sociocultural management of life. Drawing from the fields of Indigenous studies, Black studies, anthropology, and environmental studies, we will investigate diverse and contradictory definitions, narratives, representations, experiences and histories of humanness and aliveness. Together we will consider how those orientations shape and are, in turn, shaped by techniques of discipline, domination, organization; we will explore theories and narratives about what a body is, and how and why it matters; and we will finally use this theoretical landscape to envision approaches to life beyond the human/nonhuman binary, toward flourishing, interdependence, and sovereignty.


ANT 324L • Mapping Indigenous Austin

32420 • Fall 2021
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WCP 4.118

This co-taught seminar combines Indigenous history, settler colonial theory, and design practice in order to highlight the histories and presents of Indigenous Austin. Traditionally, the lands upon which the city of Austin sits has been, and still is, home to multiple Indigenous communities who have been subject to implicit and explicit processes of erasure. To counter a lack of public awareness, students in this course will collaboratively research and contribute to a ‘story map’ that contextualizes important locations, communities, and archives that reveal Austin as an Indigenous space. Course readings will support an ethical and decolonial practice of Public Anthropology, in which we will think through the politics of what constitutes publics, legibility, collaboration, accessibility, and translation; these readings will complement the hands-on research and production of a story map. Students will participate in weekly site visits to libraries and archives, design workshops and critiques, and writing sessions to produce an important educational tool for the general public.

ANT 324L • Native Food Sovereignty-Wb

31092 • Fall 2020
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM
Internet; Synchronous

Please check back for updates.

ANT 391 • Indig Activ/Solid/Pol Power-Wb

31240 • Fall 2020
Meets TH 2:00PM-5:00PM
Internet; Synchronous

This graduate seminar examines the long history and current context of Indigenous political activism. These movements, often forged in solidarity with other Indigenous communities, as well as Black people, brown people, and settlers, engage urgently with the tensions - and promises - that underpin theories of political power, sovereignty, territoriality, dispossession, and cultural identity. Readings for this course will hedge closely to Native North America before extending comparatively to Oceania, Palestine, and South America in order to think broadly about the effects of globalization and neoliberalism; climate change and environmental racism; and extractive regimes and racial capital upon Indigenous communities around the world. This material will, then, help us to envision the kinds of decolonial futures proposed by the activists, scholars, and artists encountered in this course.



ANT 324L • Anthropology Of Food

31638 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WCP 4.174

Food is one of the most fundamental elements of human society. Because everybody eats, it provides a powerful vehicle for expressing individual and social identity. This course explores the cultural dimensions of growing, cooking, and eating food by engaging themes of gender, race, indigeneity, embodiment, hunger, and power. Reading across foundational anthropological texts, ethnographies, and contemporary news media, we will pay attention to the ways that people use food as an everyday tool to communicate ideas about who they are in relation to the communities, environments, histories, and economies that shape their worlds.

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