Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Chinese Americans, Hawaiian Locals, Foodways, Pidgin, Chinglish, Chinese Pidgin English, Cookbooks, Multiculturalism, U.S. Ethnicity, Creole studies

Major Advisor

Sharon Harris

Associate Advisor

Clare Eby

Associate Advisor

Christopher Vials

Associate Advisor

Cathy Schlund-Vials

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


My project deals with how the grotesque and simplifying distortion of Chinese American and Hawaiian Local languages and foodways has been used to promote facile multiculturalist encounters and the ways in which contemporary writers from those ethnic groups have attempted to articulate other ethnic formulations free from what I call minstrel gestures. These writers instead valorize innovation and transformation over an adherence to past traditions already pillaged and stereotyped by hegemonic interests. This strategy—which I dub the creole relational mode—has worked to varying degrees of success in creating the possibilities for oppositional cultural formations. While these oppositional cultural formations are often liberating, they sometimes can obscure persistent interethnic tensions in U.S. culture. The project’s contribution to the existing scholarship lies in its central claim that language and food are invested with so much meaning in U.S. interethnic discourse because these two forms of difference are easily appropriated and internalized by individuals across otherwise rigidly constructed ethnic boundaries.