Adria L. Imada

Picture of Adria L. Imada
Professor, History
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
Research Interests
race, indigeneity, disability, gender, and health; U.S. and Pacific Histories; Visual Studies; popular culture
Academic Distinctions
Andrew Carnegie Fellow, 2021

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)
Research Abstract
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 award-winning 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.
Awards and Honors
Sally and Ken Owens Book Award, Western History Association, 2023

Frances Richardson Keller-Sierra Prize, Western Association of Women Historians, 2023

Barbara “Penny” Kanner Book Award (biennial), Western Association of Women Historians, 2023

Vicki L. Ruiz Award for best article on race in the North American West, Western History Association, 2022

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
Short Biography
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.

“Intimacies of Sound and Skin at Carville.” Southern Cultures 29, No. 1 (2023): 5–23.
“‘The Potential That Was in All of Us’: Carceral Disability and the Japanese American Redress Movement.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 51, No. 1-2 (2023): 21–47.
“Family History as Disability History: Native Hawaiians Surviving Medical Incarceration.” Disability Studies Quarterly 41, No. 4 (2021).
“Lonely Together: Subaltern Family Albums and Kinship during Medical Incarceration,” Photography and Culture 11, No. 3 (2018): 297-321.
DOI: 10.1080/17514517.2018.1465651
“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.
DOI: 10.1525/rep.2017.138.1.1
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.
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