What Does It Mean to Be a ‘Local’ in Hawai‘i?

A Honolulu-Born Mainlander Reflects on How Demographic and Economic Change Are Making an Idealized Aloha State Identity Obsolete

The story of the modern Hawai‘i diaspora is a paradox: Many of us who grew up in Hawai‘i in the second half of the 20th century developed a powerful sense of “local” identity—but were compelled by economics to live elsewhere in the United States.

I am one of many in this long diaspora who still refers to Hawai‘i as “home.” And if you ask me what it means to be from Hawai‘i today, the question is tough to answer. It’s especially hard if you were influenced by the transformative period—sometimes referred …

How Venezuela’s Oil Riches Fueled a Literary Explosion

In the Mid-20th Century, Writers Seized on the Conflicts Laid Bare by Petroleum's Power to Reshape Society

On December 14, 1922, a gusher of petroleum was discovered in Zulia, a rural area of western Venezuela. For nine days the oil showered onto the surrounding farmland, scaring the …

Hurricane Maria ‘Lifted the Veil’ on Puerto Rico’s Broken System

The Island Must Confront Past Mismanagement, or Face Outsize Future Disasters

On September 20, 2017, when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the media, government officials, and the American public were in awe when the island lost electricity and went dark. More …

How the Cold War Fused Exile and American Identity

In California's Orange County, Vietnamese Refugees Rewrote a Tragic Defeat by Finding a Home in the U.S.

Thirty years ago, the small city of Westminster, California, held a grand yet understated indoor ceremony at the Asian Garden Mall to unveil the Little Saigon freeway sign. Governor George …

Home Away from Home

Gaza-Born Taysir Batniji Documents His U.S. Relatives’ Lives

In his photo series Home Away from Home, the Gaza-born Franco-Palestinian artist Taysir Batniji explores and documents the daily lives of people dwelling in intermediate states—between the land of their …

For Refugees, Home Is a Place Called Never

Having Fled Sarajevo as a Child, I Find It Hard Telling Syrians There Is No Going Back

I recognized Basel immediately when the shot cut to a group of refugees standing in the rain, and he turned to look briefly at the camera. I was at home …