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Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility Staff - Judy Rohrer



Center for Citizenship & Social Justice

1906 College Heights Blvd #71084
Bowling Green, KY 42101

270 745-3218


Tate Page Hall 110

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Dr. Judy Rohrer

Dr. Judy Rohrer

Assistant Professor ICSR

Office:  Tate Page Hall 111
Phone:  270-745-2093


Judy Rohrer is an Assistant Professor in Diversity and Community Studies at WKU.  She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Hawai’i in 2005, and her B.A. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College in 1989.  After the completion of her B.A. and during her graduate studies, she worked for progressive nonprofits and activist organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She is an interdisciplinary scholar with interests in indigenous studies, critical race studies, feminist theory, LGBTQ studies/queer theory, and disability studies. 

Dr. Rohrer’s third manuscript, Staking Claim: Race and Indigeneity in Hawaiʻi is being released in spring 2016 through The University of Arizona Press.  It brings together an analysis of racial formation and colonization in the islands through a study of legal cases, contemporary public discourse, and Hawai’i scholarship.  In it, Rohrer argues that the dual settler colonial processes of racializing native Hawaiians (erasing their indigeneity), and indigenizing non-Hawaiians, enable the staking of non-Hawaiian claims to Hawai’i.

Queering the Biopolitics of Citizenship in the Age of Obama, Dr. Rohrer’s short monograph, was released in September 2014 through Palgrave MacMillan.  It furthers an evolving discussion of what it means to be an American citizen in the Obama era and demonstrates the importance of developing an understanding of the machinations of governmentality and biopolitics in the (re)production of the (proper) citizen.

Professor Rohrer’s first book, Haoles in Hawai’i, was published in 2010 through the University of Hawai’i Press.  It is the first volume in a series on race and ethnicity in Hawai’i.  The text strives to make sense of haole (white person/whiteness in Hawai‘i) and “the politics of haole” in current debates about race in Hawai‘i.  Recognizing it as a form of American whiteness specific to Hawai‘i, Rohrer argues that haole was forged and reforged over two centuries of colonization and needs to be understood in that context.

Professor Rohrer has published and lectured on race and colonization in Hawai’i, gay marriage, disability studies, and citizenship in a variety of venues.  A selected list of publications and lectures follows:

Refereed Articles:

---. “Enabling Intersectional Theory: Narrating the Messy Beginnings of Disability Awareness.” Praxis 23.1 (2011): 31-43

---. “Attacking Trust: Hawai’i as a Crossroads and Kamehameha Schools in the Crosshairs.” American Quarterly 62.3 (2010): 435-455

---. “Mestiza, Hapa Haole, and Oceanic Borderspaces: Genealogical Rearticulations of Whiteness in Hawai‘i.” borderlands 9.1 (2010)

---. “Black Presidents, Gay Marriages, and Hawaiian Sovereignty: Reimagining Citizenship in the Age of Obama.” American Studies 50.3/4 (2010): 107-130

---. “‘We Say Code Pink’: Feminist Direct Action and the ‘War on Terror’.” Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism,. Eds. Mohanty, Chandra T., Minnie Bruce Pratt and Robin Riley. London: Zed Press, 2008. 224-31

---. “Disrupting the ‘Melting Pot’: Racial Discourse in Hawai’i and the Naturalization of Haole.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 31.6 (2008): 1110-25

---. “Got Race?: The Production of Haole and the Distortion of Indigeneity in the Rice Decision.” The Contemporary Pacific 18.1 (2006): 1-31

---. “Toward a Full-Inclusion Feminism: A Feminist Deployment of Disability Analysis.” Feminist Studies 31.1 (2005): 34-63

Non-Refereed Articles

---.  “Are Haoles Victimized?,” Honolulu Civil Beat (, Jan. 6, 2011

---.  “Women Take Action Against War,” Syracuse Peace Council Newsletter, October 2006

---.  “JROTC Expansion: The Defense Department Plan for Public Education.” Z Magazine 7.6 (1994):35-39

Invited Talks


"Going to the Ocean: Unstaking Settler Colonialism in Hawai'i: (paper): Settler Colonialism in Hawai'i: (panel), Center for the Americas, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

"California's Prop 8 and the Production of Proper Families"; Feminist Studies Department, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX

"Staking Claim: Race and Indigeneity in Hawai'i"; Shared Histories?: Asian American, Native American, and Indigenous Studies seminar series, Native American & Indigenous Studies and Asian American Studies Departments, University of Texas, Austin, TX


“Haoles in Hawai’i”; Center for Biographical Research, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu and Windward Community College, Kaneohe, HI

“Honkies, Haoles, Pākehās, and the Pacific: Locating Whiteness Spatially, Temporally, and Relationally,” Whiteness Beyond the West Symposium, Virginia Tech, VA

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 Last Modified 9/24/14