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Abstract

Social views on the relationship between psychology and race have evolved worldwide and in Hawai’i, since the time of Stanley Porteus, who researched during the height of the eugenics movement. In 1974, the University of Hawai’i named a building after Dr. Porteus to honor his achievements in the field of psychology. Research through the University’s archives and the library’s original copies of his works will be analyzed. Using these original works and documents, this paper will first evaluate why his contributions to the field of psychology were significant enough to justify the decision of the Board of Regents to name a building after him. The paper will then analyze how the changing views in the 1990’s on psychology and race fueled the backlash against the naming of Porteus Hall. Newspaper clippings from the period and the original documents outlining the naming and renaming of Porteus Hall will be evaluated. The unique setting of the University as an academic institution that has a culturally diverse student and faculty body in Hawai’i will be considered to evaluate why the building was renamed in 1998. The conclusion demonstrates that while Dr. Porteus made impactful academic contributions to the field of psychology, ultimately, the views he expressed, though in line with his time, were derogatory and critical of the ethnic minorities that make up a large portion of the University’s population, and a building at the University should not be named after him.

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