Andrew W. Lind


Name Andrew William Lind
Born October 27 1901
Died August 31 1988
Birth Location Seattle

Andrew W. Lind (1901–88), a sociologist at the University of Hawai'i, spent his career studying Japanese Americans.

Born in Seattle, Washington, to John Andrew and Sophia Lind, a Swedish immigrant couple, Andrew William Lind attended the University of Washington for his BA and MA. His masters thesis, "Mobility of Population as a Factor in Personal and Social Disorganization," was adapted into an article. He enrolled in the Ph.D. program in sociology at University of Chicago. Lind first came to Hawaii in 1927, on the invitation of Professor Romanzo Adams, to do research (His professor on the mainland thought it would be good for Lind to get some "foreign experience" by working in Hawai'i). The next year he published the article, "Occupation Trends among Immigrant Groups in Hawaii," in the journal Social Forces. In 1931 he completed his dissertation, entitled "Economic Succession and Racial Invasion in Hawaii," on interracial marriage and ethnic succession in the islands.

After earning his Ph.D., Lind joined the University of Hawaii faculty. He would go on to spend his entire academic career in Hawai'i, though in later years he traveled widely and did a number of visiting professorships and summer institutes elsewhere. In 1934 he was named head of the Hawaii Social Research Laboratory (later Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory). The following year he founded the well-known journal Social Process in Hawaii. During the 1930s he married a fellow graduate student, Katherine Niles. The couple had two sons and a daughter. In 1938, he spent a sabbatical period in the US South, and lived on a cotton plantation in Mississippi. By 1941, Lind had become chairman of the sociology department and the head of the War Research Laboratory. From 1947 to 1951 Lind served as dean of the graduate school.

In 1938 Lind published his first book, An Island Community—Ecological Succession in Hawaii (1938). In the book, which was adapted from his dissertation, Lind sought, as he explained, to correlate the economic and racial history of Hawai'i with the development of the land from native Hawaiian agriculture to a multigroup plantation economy. He argued that shifts in land utilization and community residential patterns served as an index of changes in the overall culture and intergroup relations: "In the final analysis race relations are revealed through spatial relations."

During World War II, Lind established himself as a champion of Japanese Americans. In 1942, at the request of the Institute of Pacific Relations, he presented a preliminary report, "The Japanese in Hawaii under War Conditions," which was presented (evidently in Lind’s absence) at the IPR conference at Mont Tremblant, Quebec, then released by the Institute. In it, Lind noted that despite the attack on Pearl Harbor and the institution of martial law in Hawai'i, Japanese Americans had been largely spared official repression and discrimination. This was not only due to the democratic traditions in Hawai'i, but a product of economic necessity, as Japanese Americans represented 1/3 of the Islands' total labor force. During the war he was consulted by military intelligence authorities and helped shape their policies toward Japanese Americans. He maintained a large correspondence with Nisei soldiers.

In 1946, Lind published Hawaii's Japanese: An Experiment in Democracy. He called it "a venture in sociological reporting." Based on field work that he conducted along with some 80 volunteer interviewers from diverse racial backgrounds, mostly students from the university, and a review of case histories, letters and diaries, the work traced the adjustment of 160,000 Japanese Americans in Hawai'i to wartime conditions. Lind spoke of the conflict between the older immigrants, who remained attached to their Japanese customs (and in some cases were psychologically unable to accept that Japan had actually lost the war and formed messianic cults to celebrate the Japanese spirit), and their children who scorned them. Offering praise for the remarkable combat record of the Nisei soldiers of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team, Lind concluded that the war had prompted the "local Japanese" to attach themselves to American values, which would enable them to be more thoroughly absorbed into the nation's mainstream. "Out of the travail of war, born of the heroic sacrifice of thousands of Hawaii's best youth on the battlefields of the world and the fearful pain of greater thousands of their parents and kin throughout Hawaii, there has emerged a devotion of spirit to American values and ideals such as the Islands have never before witnessed."

In 1954, Lind joined colleagues at University of Chicago and University of California in organizing a joint Conference on Race Relations in World Perspective in Honolulu, for which he served as conference director. A wide variety of experts in different fields attended. Out of a mass of statistical data on demography and economics collected by Robert Schmitt as background material for the conference delegates, Lind assembled the book Hawaii's People. The slim book combined a historical portrait of the exploration of the islands and the development of the plantation economy with a review of the mechanization of agriculture and its effects. It also explored the shift towards tourism and the impact of the consequent urbanization, which also led to a reduction in the gap in average income between different ethnic groups. Lind underlined the importance of interracial marriage in the development of Hawaiian society. "[The] assimilation or the spiritual fusion of Hawaii's people moves more rapidly than amalgamation of the biological fusion, but both processes are moving irresistibly forward." The product of the conference itself was Lind's edited book Race Relations in World Perspective (1956), which featured 19 of the papers presented there. Lind's own contribution, "Occupation and Race on Certain Frontiers," offered a comparison of interracial relations in Malaya and in Hawai'i.

In 1961 Lind was named founding head of the Social Science Research Institute, into which the Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory was absorbed. In 1967 he produced a report on education in Kona for the Hawaii State Board of Education. In 1969 Lind authored Hawaii: The Last of the Magic Isles, which was published by the London-based Institute of Race Relations. In the book, Lind attacked the myth of Hawai'i as an interracial paradise whose aloha spirit transcended prejudice, claiming it as part of a fantasy which led observers to romanticize indigenous culture. Rather, Lind described Hawai'i as a society with important class distinctions that cut across racial lines, and warning of the troubling "implications of mounting racial pride on the one hand and of prejudice on the other."

Even as he published these books, plus at least a dozen short reports on minorities in Hawai'i, Lind continued to travel. In 1955, Lind was awarded a Fulbright Grant to the University College of the West Indies to study the social adjustment of Chinese immigrants in Jamaica. In 1960, he received another Fulbright, and was invited to occupy the newly created chair in American Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. In 1969, after serving as a Fulbright Professor at the Australian National University, he published a brief study of inter-ethnic marriage in New Guinea. In fall 1969, in the wake of anti-Chinese riots in Malaysia, Lind was invited as a visiting professor at Nanyang University, a Chinese-language institution in nearby Singapore, and asked for advice on introducing courses on race relations into the university's curriculum. He submitted a questionnaire to Chinese students regarding their backgrounds, their campus experience, and their outlook on world affairs and future life in Singapore. The study resulted in Lind's final book Nanyang Perspective: Chinese Students in Multiracial Singapore (1974). The work presented Chinese students at Nanyang as torn between an attachment to traditional Chinese values and a commitment to multiculturalism, and underlined the key role of education in modernization and nation-building.

Lind retired from UH in 1967 and became professor emeritus. Nevertheless, he remained an active presence at the university and the community. He remained known for the sociological city bus tours he conducted of Honolulu's neighborhoods. As part of the Japanese American community in Hawai'i's 100th anniversary celebration in 1985, Lind was among 23 non-Japanese Americans honored as part of the "Kansha: In Appreciation" program. A year later, he was honored when Bernhard Hörmann created the Andrew W. Lind Social Process in Hawaii Fund. He died in 1988.

Authored by Greg Robinson, Université du Québec À Montréal

For More Information

Lind, Andrew William. Hawaii's People. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1955. Fourth Edition, 1980.

Ong, Vicki. "Andrew William Lind Dies—a Distinguished Hawaii Sociologist." Honolulu Advertiser, Sept. 3, 1988.

Yu, Henry. 'Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.