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UH: ‘Resurgence’ is Hawaiʻi’s 2023 Word of the Year : Maui Now

The decision to select “resurgence” as the 2023 Word of the Year was inspired by the resilience of Hawaiʻi’s residents after the pandemic and the Maui community following Augustʻs devastating wildfires. Photo: Kōkua for Maui kicked-off O‘ahu events last week with over 1,000 attendees in support of Maui.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of English has selected “resurgence” as its 2023 Word of the Year for Hawaiʻi. The decision was inspired by the resilience of Hawaiʻi’s residents after the pandemic and the Maui community following Augustʻs devastating wildfires.

“Our choice of ‘resurgence’ reflects our joy at seeing our UH Mānoa campus regain its pre-pandemic vitality, with lots of exciting events and activities. In that sense, we’re doubling down on our choice of ‘in-person’ last year,” said John David Zuern, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of English chair and professor. “The wildfires on Maui were also on our minds, and we wanted to uphold the Maui community’s resilience and its determination to come back strong, which should be inspiring for all of us as we face a future that will be shaped by the effects of climate change.”

The decision was inspired by the resilience of Hawaiʻi’s residents after the pandemic and the Maui community following Augustʻs devastating wildfires. PHOTO: Maui Strong and Lahaina Still Strong merchandise at the Native Hawaiian Convention 2023. PC: Wendy Osher (11.14.23)

The department also considered the word “polarization,” given the deep fault lines running through American public culture. On that note, Zuern said that “resurgence” is not always a good thing.

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“For many years now, in the US and around the world, we’ve witnessed the resurgence of authoritarianism, anti-democratic nationalism, and state-supported racism, sexism, and homo- and transphobia,” said Zuern. “In some places, we’re also seeing pushback against those malign trends, with an upsurge in activism and involvement in the political process, and that’s heartening. As educators in the humanities, we aim to help our students develop skills in analysis, interpretation, and communication that will allow them to engage critically with all the ‘surges,’ destructive and constructive alike, that are transforming our world.”

Merriam-Webster announced its 2023 Word of the Year as authentic on Nov. 27.

Source: Maui News

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