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Colonial Encounters in Myth, History and Narrative

Anthropology 320

Spring 1999, Wednesday 1:30-3:30

Professor Michele Dominy
Department of Anthropology
Bard College MSC 1525
PO Box 5000
Annandale-on-the Hudson, NY 12504-5000

email: dominy@bard.edu

Related Interest: Asian Studies, Victorian Studies, Religion, Historical Studies

Distribution: A and C

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Recently, Pacific anthropology has generated an intellectually provocative controversy in the politics of representation, and in the anthropology of conceptual systems, by focusing on Captain Cook's voyages of Pacific exploration and his death at Kealakekua Bay in 1779. Marshall Sahlins argues that in the encounter between Europeans and Hawaiians Cook's movements merged myth and event as he played out the role of the Hawaiian akua (god) Lono and met his death when he broke the cultural logic of the ritual cycle; Gananath Obeyesekere argues that the idea of Captain Cook as a Polynesian god was created by Europeans (and Sahlins) as part of a "mythic charter for their conquest, imperialism, and colonization in the world." We will read Sahlins's Historical Metaphors and Mythical Realities, Obeyesekere's The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the Pacific, Sahlins's response in How "Natives" Think: About Captain Cook, for Example, and diverse commentaries by Pacific historians, anthropologists, and native activists. In equal detail, the Maori prophets' (Te Kooti and Titokawaru) military encounters with Europeans and the emergence of millenarian movements fusing indigenous and Christian beliefs will be read in the contrasting novels of Maurice Shadbolt and Witi Ihimaera against the backdrop of James Belich's Victorian interpretations of racial conflict in the New Zealand wars. Our focus on the politics of colonialism and its historiography (as the last colonial frontier)--in myth, ethnography and narrative--will range from linguistic colonialism and the discursive contexts of Shakespeare's The Tempest (Greenblatt, Hamlin, and Manoni); to late 18th century political discourses of exploration and the exotic; to late 20th century anthropology in Nicholas Thomas's Colonialism's Culture, the Comaroffs' Ethnography and the Historical Imagination, and Greg Dening's History's Anthropology.

REQUIRED BOOKS

Belich, James (1986) The Victorian interpretation of racial conflict: The Maori, the British, and the New Zealand wars.

Comaroff John and Jean Comaroff (1992) Ethnography and the historical imagination. Studies in the ethnographic imagination. Boulder: Westview Press.

Dening, Greg (1988) History's anthropology: The death of William Gooch.

Ihimaera, Witi (1998) The Dream swimmer. Auckland: Penguin.

Obeyesekere, Gananath (1992) The apotheosis of Captain Cook: European mythmaking in the Pacific. Princeton: University of Princeton Press.

Sahlins, Marshall (1981) Historical metaphors and mythical realities. ASAO Monograph Series. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Sahlins, Marshall (1995) How "Natives" think: about Captain Cook, for example.

Shadbolt, Maurice (1990) Monday's warriors. Auckland: Sceptre.

Thomas, Nicholas (1994) Colonialism's culture: anthropology, travel and government. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

COURSE EXPECTATIONS

Fully attentive and participatory seminar work. You should be prepared to initiate and guide part of our session each week. To prepare you must assume responsibility for reading materials beyond those assigned. (1/3rd of grade)

Two 10 page papers due on March 17th and May 19th in class. Under no circumstances will late papers receive higher than a C; I reserve the right not to accept late papers. (Each paper 1/3rd of grade)

ASSIGNED READINGS

Overview

Part I Hawai'i

2. Cohn, Bernard (1980) History and Anthropology: The State of Play. Comparative Studies in Society and History 22:198-221. [R]

Sahlins, Marshall (1983) Other times, other customs: the anthropology of history. American Anthropologist 85(3):517-544. [R]

Sahlins, Historical metaphors and mythical realities

3. Dening, History's Anthropology

Comaroff John and Jean Comaroff (1992) Ethnography and the historical imagination. IN Comaroff, eds. Pp. 3-48.

Dirks, N. B. (1992). Is Vice Versa? Historical Anthropologies and Anthropological Histories. In T. McDonald (ed.), The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences. [R]

4. Obeyesekere, Apotheosis of Captain Cook

5. Selected readings [folder copies on reserve]:

Friedman, Jonathan (1988) No history is an island. Critique of Anthropology 8:7-39.

Sahlins, Marshall. (1988) Deserted islands of history: A reply to Jonathan Friedman. Critique of Anthropology 8:41-51.

Rose, Deborah. (1993) Worshiping Captain Cook. Social Analysis 34 (December):43-49.

Salmond, Anne. (1993) Whose God, or not? Social Analysis 34 (December):50-55.

Obeyeskere, Gananath (1993) Anthropology and the Cook myth: A response to critics. Social Analysis 34:70-85.

Thomas, Nicholas. 1993. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992).

Lindstrom, Lamont. (1994) Review of; The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). Pacific Affairs 67(12):159-60.

Parmentier, Rick. (1994) Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). The Contemporary Pacific 6:238-40.

Parker, Samuel K. (1995) The revenge of practical reason? A review essay on Gananath Obeyesekere's The Apotheosis of Captain Cook. Oceania 65(3):257-268 AND

Obeyesekere, Gananath (1995) Re-weaving the argument: a response to Parker. Oceania 65(3):257-274.

Parker, Samuel K. Correspondence: remarks on Obeyesekere's reply. Oceania 66(1):70-73.

6. Sahlins, How "Natives" think about Captain Cook, for example

Optional: Selected Readings:

Howe, K.R. (1996) The making of Cookís death. Journal of Pacific History 31(1):108-118.

Friedman, Jonathan. (1995) Review of: How ìnativesî think, by Marshall Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). American Ethnologist 22:196-7.

Borofsky, Robert. (1997) Cook, Lono, Obeyesekere, and Sahlins. Current Anthropology 38:255-282.

Geertz, Clifford. (1997) Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992) and How ìNativesî Think, by M. Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). 42 (November 30):4-6.

7. 'Conceptualizing the Savage' and Renaissance Ethnography

Shakespeare, William The Tempest. Oxford Press.

Hamlin, William M
1994 Men of Inde: Renaissance Ethnography and The Tempest. Shakespeare Studies 22:15-44.

8. First paper due in class, Wednesday, March 17th

9. Postcolonial Criticism

Brown, Paul
1985 "This Thing of Darkness I acknowledge Mine": "The Tempest" and the Discourse of Colonialism. In Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism, edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield. Pp. 48-71. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Barker, Francis and Peter Hulme
1985 Nymphs and Reapers Heavily Vanish: The Discursive Contexts of "The Tempest." In Alternative Shakespeares, edited by John Drakakis. Pp. 99-115. New York: Methuen.

Cartelli, Thomas
1987 Prospero in Africa: "The Tempest" as Colonialist Text and Pretext. In Shakespeare Reproduced. Jean Howard and Marion O'Connor, editors. Pp. 99-115. New York: Methuen.

Greenblatt, Stephen
1990 Learning to Curse: Aspects of Linguistic Colonialism in the Sixteenth Century. In Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture. Pp. 16-39. New York: Routledge.

Halpern, Richard
1994 "The Picture of Nobody": White Cannibalism in "The Tempest." In The Production of English Renaissance Culture. David Lee Miller, Sharon O'Dair and Harold Weber, editors. Pp. 262-292. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Bate, Jonathan
1995 Caliban and Ariel Write Back. Shakespeare Survey 48:1555-162.

SPRING RECESS

Interlude: Anthropology and History

10. Thomas, Colonialism's culture

Part II New Zealand

11. Selected readings on Cook's contact

Salmond, Anne (1991) Two worlds: First meetings between Maori and Europeans 1642-1772 [Reserve] Chapters 4, 5 11, and Conclusion

Salmond, Anne (1997) Between two worlds: early exchanges between Maori and Europeans 1773-1815. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. [Reserve] Part One Science and Whakapapa, pp. 31-174.

Film: Utu (in class) (1983) (104 minutes)

12. Selected Readings:

Belich, Victorian interpretation of racial conflict, Introduction, Part IV Titokowaru and Te Kooti, Part V Conclusions

Belich, James (1996) Making peoples: A history of New Zealanders from Polynesian settlement to the end of the nineteenth century. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. [Reserve] Chapter 9 Converting Conversion, Chapter 10 Conquest? Pp. 212-246

Binney, Judith (1997) Redemption songs: a life of the nineteenth-century Maori leader Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. [Reserve] A chapter of your choice.

13. Shadbolt, Monday's warriors (fiction)

Registration on May 7th

14. Ihimaera, Dream Swimmer (fiction)

15. Second paper due in class, Wednesday, May 19th (Seniors due May 17th)

Supplementary Bibliography: Sahlins/Obeyesekere

Abramson, Allen. 1986. Review of: Islands of History, by M. Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985). Man 21 (Spring):581.

_____ 1995. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). Man 1 (December):851-852.

Beaglehole, J.C. Editor. 1964. The Death of Captain Cook. Historical Studies, Australia and New Zealand 11:289-305.

Bergendorff, Steen, Ulla Hasager, and Peter Henriques. 1988. Mythopraxis and history: On the interpretation of the Makahiki. Journal of Polynesian Society 97:391-408.

Bernstein, Richard. 1995. Cook Was (a) a God or (b) Not a God. The New York Times May 24, p. C22.

Borofsky, Robert. 1997. Cook, Lono, Obeyesekere, and Sahlins. Current Anthropology 38:255-282.

Burce, Amy. 1993. The death of a hero. The Sciences. May/June, pp. 40-46

Campell, I.C. 1994. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). Journal of World History 42:367-370.

Dening, Greg. 1982. Sharks that walk on the land: The death of Captain Cook. Meanjin 41:427-37.

Fagan, Brian. 1995. The Captain Cook debate, cont'd. Washington Post Book World, August 3.

Foster, Stephen William. 1987. Review of: Islands of History, by Marshall Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985). Society 24 (January/February):93-94.

Friedman, Jonathen. 1985. Captain Cook, culture, and the world system. Journal of Pacific History 20:191-201.

_____ 1987. Review of: Islands of History, by M. Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985). History and Theory 26:1:72-99.

_____ 1988. No history is an island. Critique of Anthropology 8:7-39.

_____ 1995. Review of: How ìnativesî think, by Marshall Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). American Ehtnologist 22:196-7.

_____ 1996. Review of: Anahulu, by Patrick V. Kirch and Marshall Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992). Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2:383-84.

Geertz, Clifford. 1997. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992) and How ìNativesî Think, by M. Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). 42 (November 30):4-6.

Hamilton-Paterson, James. 1992. Review of: Imagining the Pacific and The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). New Republic 207(23):33-37.

Hacking, Ian. 1995. Aloha, aloha. London Review of Books, September 7.

Hanlon, David. 1994 On the practical, pragmatic, and political interpretations of a death in the Pacific. Pacific Studies 17:103-11.

Hanson, Alan. 1993. Review of : The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). American Anthropologist 95:762-63.

Howe, K.R. 1986. Review of: Islands of History, by M. Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985). Pacific Affairs 59 (Fall):548-549.

_____ 1996. The making of Cook's death. Pacific Studies 31:108-18.

_____ 1996. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). The Journal of Pacific History 31:1:108-118.

Kaeppler, Adrienne. 1994. Book Reviews. Eighteenth Century Studies 28:158-161.

Kame'eleihiwa, Likikala. 1994. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). Pacific Studies 17:111-118.

Lamb, Jonathen. 1993. Social facts, political fictions and unrelative events: Obeyesekere on Sahlins. Social Analysis 34 (December):56-60.

Lindstrom, Lamont. 1994. Review of; The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). Pacific Affairs 67(12):159-60.

MacDonald, Mary N. 1995. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). History of Religions 35 (November):185-187.

Martin, G.J. 1993. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). Choice, April, 30-4543:1365.

Modell, Judith. 1994. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). American Historical Review 99:1637-38.

Mosco, Mark (1992) Other messages, other missions; or Sahlins among the Melanesians. Oceania 63(2):97-114.

Obeyesekere, Gananath. 1993. Anthropology and the Cook myth: A response to critics. Social Analysis 34 (December):70-85.

_____ 1994. How to write a Cook book: Mythic and other realities in anthropological writing. Pacific Studies 17:136-55.

_____ 1995a. Reweaving the argument: A response to Parker. Oceania 65:268--3.

_____ 1995b. "British cannibals: Contemplation of an event in the death and resurrection of James Cook, explorer," in Identities. Edited by Henry Louis Gates and Anthony Appiah. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Osborne, Thomas. 1994, Review of: To steal a kingdom and The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). Journal of American History 81:259-61.

Parker, Samuel. 1995. The revenge of practical reason? Oceania 65:257-67.

Parmentier, Rick. 1994. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). The Contemporary Pacific 6:238-40.

Parmentier, Rick 1996 Haole-ing in the wind: on the rhetoric of identity anthropology. Anthropological Quarterly 69:220-230.

Pheloung, Grant. 1994. Review of: The Apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). Southern Humanities Review 28 (Spring):184-186.

Pollack, Donald. 1996. Review of: How "Natives" Think, by M. Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). American Anthropologist 98 (September):683-684.

Rose, Deborah. 1993. Worshiping Captain Cook. Social Analysis 34 (December):43-49.

Sahlins, Marshall. 1988. Deserted islands of history: A reply to Jonathan Friedman. Critique of Anthropology 8:41-51.

_____ 1989. Captain Cook at Hawaii. Journal of the Polynesian Society 98:371-425.

Salmond, Anne. 1993. Whose God, or not? Social Analysis 34 (December):50-55.

Segal, Robert A. 1987. Review of: How Natives Think, by L. Levy-Bruhl (reprint Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1926). The Journal of Religion 67 (July):353-362.

Shankman, Paul. 1986. Review of: Islands of History, by M.Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985). American Anthropologist 88 (Spring):767-768.

Smith, Bernard. 1993. A comment. Social Analysis 34 (December):61-65.

Thomas, Nicholas. 1993. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992).

Trask, Haunani-Kay. 1985. Review of: Islands of History, by M. Sahlins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985). American Ethnologist 12 (November):784-7.

Trask, Haunani-Kay. 1991. Natives and anthropologists: The colonial struggle. The Contemporary Pacific (Spring):159-77.

Valeri, Valerio. 1994. Review of: The apotheosis of Captain Cook, by G. Obeyesekere (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). Pacific Studies 17:124-36.

*Consult bibliographies in cited articles for additional sources.. See especially Borofsky 1997.

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