Collegiate Affiliation

Demiliza Sagaral Saramosing is an educator, scholar, and teaching artist of Bisayan descent with genealogies rooted in the seas shared between the Visayas and Mindanao. Her paternal family returned to Hawaiʻi in the 1970s to escape state-sanctioned land-grab wars in Iligan City via their sakada labor ties to the Ewa plantation. As a daughter of immigrants, Demiliza was born and raised in the racial capitalist and occupying settler state of Hawaiʻi. She grew up in Kalihi, an ahupua‘a and urban neighborhood of Honolulu that is home to Kānaka Maoli and diasporic communities from Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Demiliza graduated from W.R. Farrington High School in 2010. Being the first in her family to attend college, she received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies and Journalism at the University of Oregon in 2016. She completed her M.A. degree in Asian American Studies at UCLA in 2018. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota's American Studies program. She holds UMN graduate minors in the Race, Indigeneity, Disability, Gender, Sexuality (RIDGS), and American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS) programs. She co-edited the Alon Journal for Filipinx American and Diaspora Studies special issue entitled, “Towards an Oceanic Filipinx Studies.”

Demiliza's dissertation is entitled, "Messin’ Wid Paradise: Kalihi & Oceanic Homeplace-Making In & Beyond the City With No Pity." In the past 30 years, immigrant, second-generation, and Kānaka Maoli youth have grown up in the urban inner-city of Kalihi, Honolulu while navigating the everyday structures of racism, classism, inter-residential conflict, and gender and sexual violence in the occupying settler state of Hawaiʻi. This is an auto-ethnographic project based on participant observation and in/formal talk story methods that examines the experiences of a cohort of young adults from Kalihi which include some who still live in Kalihi and some who have moved away to other places in Hawaiʻi or to the continent. I will also discuss my own experiences as I come from this same cohort. This analysis focuses on the question: How do they express themselves, understand their evolving positions, and navigate their senses of (un)belonging amid marginalization in a globalized and transnational world? While my work is in progress at this time, I expect to argue that this analysis will illuminate social injustices in “multicultural paradise” and inform our decolonial and abolitionist movements in Hawaiʻi. Messin’ Wid Paradise illustrates my analysis of what young adults from Kalihi offer to debates in Critical Youth Studies, Indigenous and Women of Color Feminisms, Queer of Color Critique, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, and (Asian) Settler Colonialism Studies.

Demiliza is a recipient of the 2018-2019 Diversity of Views and Experiences Fellowship and the 2022-2023 Beverly and Richard Fink Fellowship.

Educational Background
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Educational Background

  • PhD Candidate: American Studies, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • MA: Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, 2018
  • BA: Ethnic Studies & Journalism, University of Oregon, 2016