School of Humanities
Ph.D., New York University, American Studies
Certificate, New York University, Culture and Media
B.A., Yale University, American Studies
Phone: History Department: (949) 824-6521
University of California, Irvine
200 Murray Krieger Hall
Mail Code: 3275
Irvine, CA 92697
race, indigeneity, disability, gender, and health; U.S. and Pacific Histories; Visual Studies; popular culture
2021 Andrew Carnegie Fellow
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Grant for Scholarly Works in Biomedicine and Health, 1G13LM011898-01A1 (2015-2019)
American Council for Learned Societies, Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars (2014-15)
University of California, Faculty Research Fellowship in the Humanities (2013-14)
Huntington Library, Barbara Thom Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-08)
University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003-04)
Imada’s first book, Aloha America: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire, about the relationship between U.S. imperial expansion and Hawaiian hula performance, received four awards, including the Lawrence W. Levine Prize for best cultural history from the Organization of American Historians.
Her second book, An Archive of Skin, An Archive of Kin: Disability and Life-Making during Medical Incarceration (University of California Press, 2022), examines how people survived the longest and harshest medical quarantine in modern history. Between 1866 and 1969, thousands of men, women and children suspected of having leprosy in Hawai‘i were removed from their families and sentenced to lifelong exile. These diagnoses were informed by photographs taken by settler-colonial medical authorities. Although providing unstable and conflicting evidence of disease, this “archive of skin" circulated widely and amplified the perceived criminality, disability, and racial-sexual difference of their subjects. Yet exiled people also adopted photography in unanticipated ways, piecing together their own archives of care and companionship in the face of social and legal death. Drawing on extensive photograph collections of physicians, medical missionaries, and exiled patients, this book exercises an “ethics of restraint” while representing the visual culture of disability and illness. Instead, it emphasizes non-spectacular approaches to visualizing diverse bodies and kinship.
Sally Banes publication prize (biennial) for best work on theatre and dance/movement, American Society for Theater Research (2014)
Lawrence W. Levine Prize for best book in cultural history, Aloha America: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire, Organization of American Historians (2013)
Best first book award in women’s, gender, and/or sexuality history, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians (2013)
Outstanding Publication Award in Dance Studies, Congress on Research in Dance (2013; awarded triennially for years 2010, 2011, and 2012)
Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for best dissertation in American Studies, Aloha America: Hawaiian Entertainment and Cultural Politics in the U.S. Empire, American Studies Association (2003)
Gene Wise-Warren Susman Prize for best graduate student paper, “Hawaiians on Tour: Hula Circuits Through the American Empire,” American Studies Association (1999)
Adria L. Imada was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai'i. She is professor in the Department of History at University of California, Irvine, where she also teaches in its Medical Humanities undergraduate and graduate programs.
Current Ph.D. students:
“Lonely Together: Subaltern Family Albums and Kinship during Medical Incarceration,” Photography and Culture 11, No. 3 (2018): 297-321.
“A Decolonial Disability Studies?” Disability Studies Quarterly 37, No. 3 (Summer 2017).
“Promiscuous Signification: Leprosy Suspects in a Photographic Archive of Skin.” Representations 138 (2017): 1 -36.
Aloha America: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.
“Aloha ‘Oe: Settler Colonial Nostalgia and the Genealogy of a Love Song.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal. 37.2 (June 2013): 35-52.
“Transnational Hula as Colonial Culture.” The Journal of Pacific History, Vol. 46, No. 3 (September 2011): 149-176.
“The Army Learns to Luau: Imperial Hospitality and Military Photography in Hawai‘i.” The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 20, No. 2 (2008): 329-361.
“Hawaiians on Tour: Hula Circuits Through the American Empire.” American Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 1 (March 2004): 111-149.