Isaiah Walker – Brigham Young University, Hawai’i (O’ahu, Hawai’i)

Isaiah Walker  Professor of History and Department Chair, Brigham Young University, Hawai’i.

Isaiah Walker was born and raised in Keaukaha, Hilo, Hawaiʻi. After joining the LDS church in 1990 and graduating from Hilo High school in 1991, he moved to Lāʻie and attended BYUH. He served a mission in San Diego, California from 1992-1994. In 1996 Isaiah married Rebekah Matagi of Lāʻie, they have 4 beautiful children. After graduating with a Bachelors in History from BYU Hawaiʻi in 1997 and earning a Master’s degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Isaiah completed a PhD. from the University of California, in Santa Barbara. Isaiah studies Hawaiian history and colonialism from a unique perspective, from the vantage of Hawaiian surfers. Focusing primarily on a Hawaiian surfing club formed on the North Shore of O‘ahu in 1976, his dissertation analyzes the history of surfing, resistance, and masculinity in Hawai‘i. Contending that the ocean surfing realm was a sanctuary and borderland for Hawaiians, his research creatively analyzes a space where Hawaiians were empowered and colonial hierarchies were often turned upside down. He is currently revising his dissertation to be published in book form by the University of Hawaii press. Other portions of his research have been published as articles, found in the Spring 2008 issue of Contemporary Pacific and the November 2005 issue of Pacific Historical Review. He is currently a professor and department chair in the History Department where he teaches World, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islands history.

He is author of several seminal articles on surfing, Hawaiian identity, and indigeneity (below), as well as Waves of Resistance: Surfing and Resistance in Twentieth-Century Hawai’i (University of Hawai’i Press, 2011).

Waves of Resistance, University of Hawai'i Press, 2011.
Waves of Resistance, University of Hawai’i Press, 2011.

Select Publications:

  • “Hui Nalu, Beachboys, and the Surfing Boarder-lands of Hawaiʻi” The Contemporary Pacific, volume 20 number 4, 89-113, 2008.
  • “Terrorism or Native Protest: the Hui O Heʻe Nalu and Native Hawaiian Resistance to Colonialism,” Pacific Historical Review Volume 74, Issue 4, Pages 575-601, 2005.