Micheline Soong PH.D.

College of Liberal Arts - Department of English and Applied Linguistics

Associate Professor


Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of California at Los Angeles, 1999

M.A., Comparative Literature, University of California at Los Angeles, 1991

B.A., Chinese, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1987



WRI 1050: English Fundamentals

WRI 1200: Research, Argument and Writing (Regular and Honors sections)

ENG 1101: Representations of Pacific Life

ENG 1500 (now ENG 2100): Ways of Reading: Film, Literature and Culture

ENG 2203: Banned Books

ENG 2510 and 2520 (now ENG 2500): World Literature I and II (Regular and Honors)

ENG 3130: Topics in World Literature: Reading Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being

ENG 3135: Japanese Literature

ENG 3223: Asian Literature

ENG 3226: Topics in Literatures of Hawai‘i and the Pacific: Hawai‘i Writers

ENG 3227: Hawai‘i and the Pacific in Film

ENG 3252 (ENG 3250): Topics in Gender: 20th Century American Women Writers of Color

ENG 4120: Seminar in Modernism

ENG 4910: English Program Capstone

WRI 4997: Directed Readings

For other Colleges and Departments:

ASIA 3950DS: Asian Studies Practicum—Directed Studies

ASIA 4900DS: Asian Studies Seminar—Directed Studies (Capstone)

HON 1101: Honors Seminar II: Hawaii and the Pacific

HUM 1000: Introduction to the Humanities

HUM 3900: Research and Writing in the Humanities

HUM 4500: The World Problematique

PSCI 1400: The American Political System



Classical and Modern Japanese Literature, Classical and Modern Chinese Literature, the Literatures of Asia, Asian American literature, 20th Century American Ethnic Literature (Native American, Latino/Chicana, African American and Asian American), Local Literatures of Hawaii, Native Hawaiian Literature, modernist and postmodernist literature, post-colonial literature, world literature, feminist and gender theory



Book: Anthology (proposal)

Buddhist Asia: An Introduction, co-editors Nicholas Brassovan and Micheline Soong, SUNY Press. Book proposal MS currently under review.

Book Chapter

“Gender, Sexuality, and ‘Woman’ in Li Ang’s The Butcher’s Wife,Feminism in Multi-cultural Literature. Ed. Antonio Sobejano-Moran. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997. 103-122.

Book Introduction

Introduction to Significant Moments in da Life of Oriental Faddah and Son: One Hawai‘i Okinawan Journal, by Lee Tonouchi. Honolulu: Bess Press, 2011.

Book Reviews

Review of Japanese Mythology in Film: A Semiotic Approach to Reading Japanese Film and Anime by Yoshiko Okuyama. Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy Tale Studies. Forthcoming in 2017.

Review of The Charm Buyers by Lillian Howan. University of Hawaii Press, 2017. The Pacific Rim Review of Books. Issue 22, Vol. 11, No. 2 (2017): 29.

“Mending the Unmendable.” Review of Distant Rain: A Conversation Between Jakuchō Setouchi and Tess Gallagher. Eastern Washington University Press, 2006. The Pacific Rim Review of Books, Issue 15, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2011): 11.

Review of And the View From the Shore, by Stephen Sumida. Amerasia Journal 20 (1994)103-105.

Educational Resource

“Lee Tonouchi’s Pidgin Wars on Da Word: A Literary Analysis.” Humanities Guide for Celebrating Teen Reading Festival (2002). 16-21. University of Hawai’i, Manoa.

Encyclopedia Entry

“Hawaii/Local Literature.” Asian American Society: An Encyclopedia. Ed. Mary Yu Danico. 4 vols. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference with the Association for Asian American Studies. September 2014. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452281889.n148.

Literary Journal Article

“Donna Tanigawa’s Yosegire Buton: Patchwork Piecing as an Alternative Narrative Strategy Through Local Japanese Eyes,” Bamboo Ridge, The Hawaii Writers’ Quarterly 77 (2002): 187-196.



2004 HPU Golden Apple Award: Full-Time Faculty Distinguished Teaching



2015 EWC’s ASDP-NEH Faculty Development Summer Institute May 25-June 26, 2015

            Selected as a faculty participant in the East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program-administered and NEH-funded (5-week) Summer Institute “Buddhist Asia: Traditions, Transmissions and Transformations.” Held at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, East-West Center.

2012 HPU NEH Faculty Development Grant Fall 2012 Award used in Summer 2013

            Travel to California to interview Nelson Foster and Gary Snyder, and conduct research at UC Berkeley’s Doe Undergraduate Library. Project’s tentative title is “Contextualizing the Examination of the Zen Buddhist Poetry of Gary Snyder and Robert Aitken.”

2009 HPU Faculty Development Grant Fall 2009

            Award to attend Queens College, CUNY, MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation’s conference “From Zuihitsu and Ghazal: A Conference on Translating Asian Languages and Cultures.”  I presented “Teaching World Literature at Hawaii Pacific University: Translating Cultures through Ghazal and Zuihitsu.” Flushing, New York (26-28 March).

2007 HPU NEH Faculty Development Grant Fall 2007

            Annual Meeting, January 23-26, 2008, in Washington, D.C., entitled “Intentional Learning, Unscripted Challenges: Knowledge and Imagination for an Independent World.”

2003 HPU NEH Distinguish Visiting Scholar Fund Spring 2003

            Award to attend the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Summer Institute ‘Teaching Multi-America: Re-Defining Multiculturalism and U.S. Literatures,’ in San Francisco, California on 15-18 June.


Scholarly Presentations:

Area Specialist Presentations

2013    “Approaches to Teaching Modern Japanese Literature in the Liberal Arts College Classroom.” East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program 2013 Summer Institute “Infusing Chinese and Japanese Religion, Art and Literature into the Undergraduate Program.” Honolulu, HI. 6 Aug.

2002    “Lee Tonouchi’s Pidgin Wars on Da Word:  A Literary Analysis.” Hawaii Teen Literacy Festival at University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Honolulu, HI. 17 April 2002. Humanities scholar, discussion facilitator and essay writer.

Conference Presentations

Forthcoming: “The Illustration of Houston Wood's ‘Third Rhetorical Position’ in Kānaka Maoli ‘Olelo” Oceanic Literatures and Cultures session. 115th PAMLA (Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association) Conference. Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10-17 November 2017.

2017    “The Contested Spaces within the Literatures of Hawai’i.” World History Association, Regional Affiliates for Hawaii, the Northwest and California. Pacific Journeys: A Conference in World History at the Cross-Roads of the Pacific. Honolulu, Hawaii. 17-19 February.

2009    “Teaching World Literature at Hawai‛i Pacific University: Translating Cultures through Ghazal and Zuihitsu.” Queens College, CUNY, MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation. “From Zuihitsu and Ghazal: A Conference on Translating Asian Languages and Cultures.” Flushing, NY. 26-28 March. 

1994    “Gender, Sexuality, and ‘Woman’ in Li Ang’s The Butcher’s Wife.” SUNY Binghamton. “Woman. Text. Image” Conference, April.

Conference Panelist, Panel Moderator or Discussant

2015    Panel on Chinese Literary Themes in Japanese Pictorial Representations. Ritsumeikan University's Art Research Center, Hawai‘i Pacific University's Japan Research Group, and Yūkōkai. “Degrees of Narrativity in the Japanese Visual Tradition” Symposium. Hawai‘i Pacific University. Honolulu, HI. 25-26 January. Panel moderator.

2014    “The Journey from Page to Stage: Alvin Chan’s Adaptations of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Children’s Tales for The Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s Intergenerational Audience.” Children’s Literature Hawai‘i, The Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, Chaminade University and The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa: Seventeenth Biennial Conference on Literature and Hawaii’s Children. Chaminade University, Honolulu, HI. 6 June. Panel Chair and Discussant.

2009    “Gaman—Source of Strength or Suffering in Silence?: Mavis Hara, Gail Harada and Jean Toyama, Reading from Their Work.” Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) “Challenging Inequalities: Nations, Races and Communities” 2009 Annual Conference. Honolulu, HI.  22-26 April. Panel Chair and Discussant.

2006    “Global Citizenship: Using the University Mission to Guide Curriculum Renewal.” Association for American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) “Shared Futures: General Education for Global Learning” Curriculum and Faculty Development Institute. Smith College, Northampton, MA. 3 August. Panel Presenter.

2006    “Towards a Definition of Global Learning.” AAC&U Network for Academic Renewal “General Education and Outcomes That Matter in a Changing World” Conference. Phoenix, AZ.  10 March. Panel Presenter.

2006    Dr. Masami Usui’s presentation “Outside In: Local Culture Through a Japanese Lens.” 4th Bamboo Ridge Writers Institute. University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI.  14 October. Panel Discussant.

Conferences Attended for Faculty and Curriculum Development

2015    “Oceania Ensemble: Old Roots, New Routes in the French Speaking Islands of the Pacific” University of Hawaii at Manoa/University of French Polynesia/University of New Caledonia. UHM, Honolulu, Hawaii. 12-13 November.




In the first grade, I was part of a small group of six or so bewildered youngsters who were instructed to march off one afternoon, after our post-lunch naptime, to a small utility closet off to the side of our main classroom, that was outfitted as a tiny classroom with a chalkboard and six to eight little desks and chairs sized for six-year-olds. There was a small metal stool in front of the desks upon which was perched a tiny, wizened old woman in a smartly pressed grey Catholic nun’s habit. She had soft, fleshy hands that appeared to be slightly gnarled, and her eyes appeared large and owlish due to the magnifying effect of the lenses of her glasses that rested on her large beak of a nose. In spite of that rather imposing first impression, Sr. Evelyn Farrell ended up being the kindest, gentlest and loveliest soul I have ever encountered. She read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s THE SECRET GARDEN to me along with my compatriots for about half an hour at a time in the afternoons, for several weeks. I was so enchanted by the whole experience of leaving our large classroom, entering into the doorway of this tiny classroom where we’d be whisked away into the world of the heroine, Mary Lennox’s English countryside and her adventures as she negotiated the contested space of the secret garden she discovers.

...What was this under her hands which was square and made of iron and which her finger found a hole in?

It was the lock of the door which had been closed ten years and she put her hand in her pocket, drew out the key and found it fitted the keyhole. She put the key in and turned it. It took two hands to turn it, but it did turn. And then she took a long breath and looked behind her up the long walk to see if anyone was coming. No one was coming. No one ever did it seemed, and she took another long breath, because she could not help it, and she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door that opened slowly – slowly. Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her back against it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement, and wonder, and delight.

She was standing inside the secret garden.[1]

                        — From author Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden (1911)

[1]Burnett, 1911, p. 74-75

Sr. Evelyn was a quietly dynamic reader with a faint, unaffected Irish brogue that made the characters come alive for us right there in the room. The naturalness of her delivery made me feel as if I had grown up all my life hearing her speak that way, and that I was coming home to an intimate familiarity with the sound her voice telling us this story. She had us hooked from the very first line, from the very first page. While we were eager to find out what was going to happen next each session and couldn’t wait to get to the end of the story, of course we were devastated to go back to our regular class programing to “See Dick. See Jane. See Dick and Jane...” I’ve always wondered why we were chosen for this special privilege. It wasn’t until almost two decades later did I find out that Sr. Evelyn was the master first grade teacher and Miss Lamb, our first grade teacher, was teaching her very first class of students on her own under Sr. Evelyn’s supervision. The little group of students of which I was a member, was not special because we were unusually deserving of this treat—it was just that we were the students who did not come into first grade already knowing how to read. Sr. Evelyn knew that the best way to get children hooked on reading was to capture our imaginations and to read aloud to us a rich and meaningful story we could relate to in order to motivate us to read on our own.

Please read this lecture given by Neil Gaiman to the Reading Agency on October 14, 2013:http://readingagency.org.uk/news/blog/neil-gaiman-lecture-in-full.html, as he best articulates my feelings about the reason why we have an obligation to nurture a love of reading for all children, and to support the ongoing existence of libraries as spaces to access and read books and to develop one’s imagination and sense of empathy.

Micheline Soong

Associate Professor

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  (808) 544-0809
  Downtown Campus, MP 201F