How Latin Studies classes at UH Manoa help teach Hispanic heritage

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON) — Did you know we are almost halfway through Hispanic Heritage Month?

It’s observed on Sept. 15 and ends on Oct. 15.

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You can celebrate by learning the history, honor, and culture of Hispanics and Latinos in your area.

Lucia Aranda, a Spanish professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, says she likes to teach about the history of Hispanics in Hawaii during this month.

“We go all the way from the conquistadors to the medical advisor to Kamehameha the First, and (the medical advisor) supposedly brought the first pineapple to Hawaii,” said Aranda.

Aranda said most of their Latin Studies classes are electives, and her students enjoy learning about the contributions Hispanics have brought to the islands.

“At UH Manoa, we actually teach a variety of courses on Latinos, and in my department — the Department of Languages and Literatures of Europe and Americas — and also in ethnic studies,” said Aranda.

Aranda said she covers culture, history and the literature of Latinos. 

Although the university has one of the most diverse student body populations in the country, Aranda says the number of Hispanics attending is relatively small.

“There’s about 2.2 of the undergraduate population is Hispanic,” said Aranda, “but it’s very interesting because that’s very a low number compared to the number of Hispanics that live in Hawaii which is 10%.”

Aranda adds that the number does fluctuate, and as more students take her classes, they are shocked to learn about the connections and contributions Hispanics share in Hawaii.

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“To show them that there are connections and that there is a history of Latinos in Hawaii and to show them that connection,” said Aranda. 

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