Critical Pacific Islands and Oceania Studies

Critical Pacific Islands and Oceania Studies at SFSU was built on the legacy of the TWLF and College of Ethnic Studies as students, faculty and community advocated for academic spaces that honored Pacific peoples, culture, history and knowledge.

The program ensures that academic and communal spaces reflect the work and needs of Oceanic communities in the bay area and globally. Our educational mission is to honor Oceanic peoples, experiences, and stories throughout the diaspora - and to privilege narratives that are often forgotten and placed in the margins. Significant parts of our interdisciplinary studies program are focused on historical and contemporary topics in relation to California, US-Pacific politics, and Pacific peoples and cultures. Courses utilize indigenous epistemologies to center the resiliency and power of our Ocean through the analysis of imperialism, colonialism, militarism, and globalization. Drawing from the work of Pacific Scholars including Teresia Teaiwa, Epeli Hau’ofa and many others, the past and present work of Pacific peoples is used as a compass to guide the work and local field forward.

The program aims to prepare students of all backgrounds to work in, support, service, and collaborate with Oceanic communities. Most importantly, it intends to further highlight the connections of Oceanic stories to Indigenous peoples and diasporic communities everywhere while also sharing the unique and diverse experiences of Oceania.

SFSU and CCSF people celebrate the approval of the CPIOS Minor

SFSU and CCSF students, administrators, and faculty celebrate the approval of the CPIOS Minor | March 18, 2019


Using an interdisciplinary approach, students will apply indigenous epistemologies and methodologies to the study of Native Pacific Islander communities in diaspora. Themes include racialization, ethnicity, cultural formations, community health, colonization, immigration, and sexual identities.

The Minor in Critical Pacific Islands and Oceania Studies articulates with programs at De Anza College, the College of San Mateo, and City College of San Francisco.

You can declare the minor online through MySFSU.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Evaluate the methods of inquiry and analysis used by the social and behavioral sciences in the study of racial, ethnic, and cultural formation.
  2. Apply indigenous epistemologies to understand the contemporary and historical narratives of Pacific Islander communities.
  3. Develop strategies to improve health, wellness, and life-long learning specific to Pacific Islander communities.
  4. Create networks and partnerships that apply theories of social change, history, and contemporary practices to grassroots social justice work in Pacific Islander communities.
  5. Build media content literacy that expands knowledge of ethnographic representations of Pacific Islanders.

Critical Pacific Islands & Oceania Studies, Minor — 15 units

The minor in Critical Pacific Islands & Oceania Studies consists of 15 units of required courses: 6 units of lower division courses and 9 units of upper division courses.

Lower Division Courses (6 units)

Code Title Units
RRS/ETHS 100 Introduction to Ethnic Studies (D1, AERM, GP, SJ) 3
RRS/AIS 103 Introduction to Pacific Studies (D2, AERM, GP, SJ) 3

Upper Division Courses (9 units)

Code Title Units
RRS 303 Health and Wellness among Pacific Islanders (UD-B, SJ) 3
RRS/SOC 410 Grassroots Organizing for Change in Communities of Color (UD-D, AERM, SJ) 3
RRS/AIS 433 Pacific Islanders in Film: Re-Presenting Oceania Through an Indigenous Lens (UD-C, AERM) 3


Dr. Leora Kava

Dr. Ponipate Rokolekutu

Sarah Wongking-Tanuvasa, MPH