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Change in the Pacific

Anth 357

Fall 1996

Instructor: Dr. Craig Severance
University of Hawai'i at Hilo
200 W. Kawili Street
Hilo, HI 96720-4091
Tel: (808) 974-7472 messages 974-7460

1. To become familiar with contemporary lifestyles and aspirations in the Pacific Island states and territories.
2. To understand some of the cultural & social changes and related economic and political issues.
3 To recognize the geopolitical context of great power interests, and the role of regionalism and political movements in countering that power.
4. to know current information sources.
5. to gain some sense of the creative and adaptive responses to perceived problems and of the sophistication of islanders as politicians and observers of their own conditions and status.

COMMENT: This course does not require a specific background in anthropology because it focuses on contemporary issues and problems from a multidisciplinary area perspective. It does require that you understand the island states and cultures in their current geopolitical context and that you consider two perspectives: That of the outsiders and that of the insiders, the islanders themselves.

TEXTS: To buy:
Lockwood et al.: Contemporary Pacific Societies;
Hau'ofa: Tales of the Tikongs

Additional required readings will be assigned as we go.


Two Exams at midpoint & end 40%
Map exercise 10%
Think or resource question 10%
Paper (Conference required!) 30%
Personal evaluation (extra credit?) 10%

PAPERS AND EXAMS: Paper topics are flexible but must go beyond Hawaii and are negotiated in the conference(s). I will edit drafts and help you with sources. Exams include maps, definitions, & short essays and are weighted 60% lecture and 40% reading so attendance is important to grasp concepts and details.

TENTATIVE TOPIC OUTLINE: Adjustable to class interests and visiting speaker schedules

Week 1 Aug 26-30 Intro: The Rim & the Islands: Resources (Begin Lockwood, Section One.)
Week 2 Sep 4 & 6 Cultural Background. Begin Crocombe
recommended: Thomas reading
Week 3 Sep 9-13 Historical Background: Colonial impacts, metropolitan ties.
Week 4 Sep 16-19 Postwar nationalism & independence
Cultural Identity (Hau'ofa reading)
Week 5 Sep 23-27 Regional organizations and alliances
Maps due! (Lockwood: Section two)
Week 6 Sep 30-0ct 4 Neocolonialism: Trade, dependence vulnerability
Week 7 Oct 7-11 Urban growth: Push-Pull & rural decline
(Shuster reading)
Week 8 Oct 14-18 Population Growth & Circulation Remittance
Economies (Lockwood: Section three)
Week 9. Oct 21-25 Brain Drains, overseas networks & communities
Week 10 Oct 28-
Nov 1
Alcohol abuse, Drugs etc.
Week 11 Nov 4-8 Crime; Domestic Violence
Week 12 Nov 13 & 15 Suicide & Health (Lockwood: Section Four)
(Rubinstein reading)
Week 13 Nov 18-22 Diseases of "Modernization"
Week 14 Nov 25 & 27 Environmental problems/ Disaster & Aid
Week 15 Dec 2-6 Dependency vs Self Reliance
(second Hau'ofa reading)
Week 16 Dec 9-13 Recap: Trends: Poverty or expansion?

Second and final exam: WEDNESDAY Dec 18, 9:40 A.M.

Think exercise or Resource question -- 10% of total grade

You may do both, using one for extra credit if you wish but

Think Question -- to get you to think and write creatively about a contemporary issue while noting insider and outsider perspectives.

Imagine yourself as a trained and concerned citizen who wants to help find a solution to a contemporary Pacific Islands issue. Choose a contemporary social, political, economic, cultural, environmental or health issue that is faced and talked about by Pacific islanders today. Possible examples include or would be similar to: Nuclear testing, suicide, diseases of modernization, crime, domestic violence, urban poverty and malnutrition, out migration, dependent grants economies, deforestation, alcohol abuse, govt. corruption, rascal gangs etc. Section III in Lockwood may give you some ideas but you should find and cite at least one other source from the periodical literature of the Pacific.

Summarize the issue for some place in the Pacific and note whether it's urban, rural or both. Is there a regional organization to deal with it? Note why people may be concerned about the issue and suggest ways you could learn about how the people feel about the issue by talking to them. If appropriate or possible, and it may well not be, suggest a general type of solution to the issue. Identify your ethnicity and clarify whether you are a Pacific Islander or not. Note how your cultural values may influence your views on this issue and the types of solutions you might propose and work to implement. Do you think your views of the issue and its seriousness are likely to be influenced by whether you are an outsider or insider? Why? Why not? How? How not?

[Subject: Anthropology; Pacific/Comparative]


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