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"Samoan ghost stories: John Kneubuhl and oral history"

October 26, 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Mānoa Campus, Kuykendall 409A

Hailed as “the spiritual father of Pacific Island theatre”, John Kneubuhl is best known as a playwright and a Hollywood scriptwriter. Less well known is that after his return to Samoa in 1968 he also devoted much of his time to the study and teaching of Polynesian culture and history. The sense of personal and cultural loss, which his plays often dramatize in stories of spirit possession, also guided his investment in oral history, in the form of extended series of radio talks and public lectures, as well as long life history interviews. Based on archival recordings of this oral history, this talk will consider Kneubuhl's sense of history and how it informs his most autobiographical play, Think of a Garden.

Otto Heim is an Associate Professor in the School of English at the University of Hong Kong. He gained his PhD from the University of Basel in 1998 with a dissertation on Maori fiction in English. His research in postcolonial literature and culture focuses primarily on writing from the Pacific region, or Oceania, particularly in poetry and theatre. In recent years, he has written about sovereignty and ecology in Pacific Island poetry, redrawing boundaries in Pacific theatre, and island logic and the decolonization of the Pacific. He is a member of the editorial boards of Shima and Urban Island Studies.


Event Sponsor
Center for Biographical Research, Mānoa Campus

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