Nicole Catherine Vandermeer

TitleGraduate Student,
Co-President of the Graduate Student Association
DivisionHumanities Division
DepartmentHistory Department
AffiliationsCritical Race and Ethnic Studies,
History of Art/Visual Culture,
Academic Senate
OfficeHumanities 1, Room 115 (Cube A),
Graduate Student Commons
Office HoursFall 2017: TBD
Campus Mail StopHistory Department
Nicole Catherine Vandermeer

Research Interests

My primary research interest is 19th century Hawaiian history, particularly between the Great Mahele (1848) and annexation (1898). I focus on imperial and Indigenous contestations over place and the meaning of place during this period through considering the landscape as the foundational site of struggle in US imperialism, both physically and semantically. I am especially interested in themes of Indigeneity, mapping, memory, place-based epistemologies, race, storytelling, tourism, and violence in both the Pacific context and the broader US empire during the 19th century. Additionally, my research involves both digital and spatial approaches and technologies.

Biography, Education and Training

M.A., History - University of California, Santa Cruz (2015-2017)

My Master's essay at UC Santa Cruz, "'A Word to the Commercially Wise': Mark Twain, the Hawaiian Landscape, and the Narrative Mapping of Imperial Desire in American Print Culture, 1866-1908," addresses the cartographic work of Mark Twain's twenty-five letters from Hawai'i as they engaged in place-making processes for American readers and encouraged American imperial interest in the Kingdom of Hawai'i. 


B.A., American Studies, summa cum laude - Emory University (2012-2015)

My honors thesis at Emory, "The Erasing Power of American Exceptionalism: Exclusion and Silence in the 'Official' American High School Textbook History of the Japanese American Internment," addresses the use of a meta-narrative of "American Exceptionalism" by contemporary high school history textbook authors in framing American history, and how it whitewashes critical moments such as the Internment that demand continued reflection from students.

Honors, Awards and Grants

  • History Department Pre-Dissertation Summer Fellowship (2017)

  • University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) Pacific Worlds Working Group Fellowship (2017)

  • Dean's Award, Humanities Division - UCSC Graduate Research Symposium (2017)

  • Gilder Lehrman Institute History Scholar Award (2015)

Selected Publications

  • "Negotiating Borders of Memory and Contested History: Examining the Role of 'Comfort Women' in Defining South Korean Nationalism after World War II," The Ethnic Spectrum: Studies on Nationalism and Ethnicity in East Asia, vol. 1, (October, 2014).

Selected Presentations

  • "'A Word to the Commercially Wise': Mark Twain, the Hawaiian Landscape, and the Narrative Mapping of Imperial Desire in American Print Culture, 1866-908," UC Santa Cruz Graduate Research Symposium (May, 2017).

  • "Writing Hawai'i into the Nation: Narrative Re-mapping in Mark Twain's Letters as a Colonial Prelude to Annexation," UC Santa Cruz Fall Forum (December, 2016).

  • "Nationalism and Japan's Contested Historical Narrative as 'Victim' in World War II: Implications for Contemporary Relations with China," Emory University's 1st Annual Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures Symposium (March, 2015).

Teaching Interests

HIS 9: Introduction to Native American Studies (TA, Spring 2018)

HIS 110D: The Civil War Era (TA, Winter 2018)

HIS 113C: Women and American Religious Culture (TA, Fall 2017)

HIS 10A: U.S. History to 1877 (TA, Summer [Session #2] 2017)

HIS 80Y: World War II Memories in the U.S. and Japan (TA, Spring 2017)

HIS 10B: U.S. History, 1877-1977 (TA, Winter 2017)

HIS 159D: When Cities Were New: the Rise of Urbanism in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean (TA, Fall 2016)

HIS 106B: Asian and Asian American History, 1941 - Present (TA, Spring 2016)