International Journal of Historical Archaeology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 135–163

An Institution that was a Village: Archaeology and Social Life in the Hansen’s Disease Settlement at Kalawao, Moloka‘i, Hawaii


DOI: 10.1007/s10761-012-0171-4

Cite this article as:
Flexner, J.L. Int J Histor Archaeol (2012) 16: 135. doi:10.1007/s10761-012-0171-4


Archaeological research in the Hansen’s disease settlement at Kalawao, Moloka‘i, Hawaii, has revealed evidence that challenges patterns expected from theoretical and archaeological research on total institutions. While written documents provide evidence for a community with many of the classic elements of places of social control, archaeological remains fit better with models of post-contact Hawaiian village life. This apparent contradiction is revealing for the power dynamics produced in the social life of modern leprosaria, medical institutions created in situations of long-term colonial entanglement.


InstitutionsLandscape archaeologyHawaiiHansen’s disease

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyWashington & Lee UniversityLexingtonUSA