Pacific Studies Initiative Syllabi & Bibliographies



Syllabi & Bibliographies

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Anthropology 350  Geoffrey White
Fall semester 2001  Anthropology (& East-West Center)
MWF 11:30 – 12:20   SSB 322 (& Burns 2114)
Miller 2  956-5601 (& 944-7343)
Office Hrs: TBA



ANTH 350

Pacific Islands Cultures

University of Hawai‘i  at Manoa

CRN: 42844



It can be argued that anyone living in Hawai‘i ought to become “literate” with regard to the cultures and histories of Pacific Island societies.  Each person living here is part of an ongoing story of movement, settlement, and adaptation to island environments that has produced some of the most distinctive cultural practices anywhere in the world. Although relatively small in population, the Pacific Islands span one-third of the globe, encompass about one fourth of the world’s languages, and include some of its most unique ecological zones. The Pacific has been an object of European interest and fantasy since the earliest days of exploration, and continues to generate all kinds of exotic images, whether of paradise, of “disappearing” cultures, or threatened ecologies. In this course we will be concerned both with representations of the Pacific generated inside and outside the region, as well as with the experience of indigenous communities.

Pacific histories of travel begin with the far-flung voyages of Polynesian navigators and are followed by waves of European explorers, missionaries, and colonizers. These movements have produced dramatic, and often tragic, stories of cultural encounter and transformation. These experiences, past and present, have much to teach us about cultural interaction and identity formation, especially in small communities that contend with global flows of people, culture, and capital. Today island travelers continue to move through national capitals and metropolitan centers from Honolulu to Los Angeles and Auckland, fashioning new forms and identities that extend the boundaries of the Pacific.

In approaching this complex and changing region, this course will provide an overview of the diverse range of communities that make up the island region today, with particular attention to the interplay of culture and politics in shaping Pacific identities.



Active student participation through contributions to class discussion is important (10%). The remaining 90 % of a student’s grade will consist of two mid-term exams (20% and 20%), an assignment on Pacific tourism (10%), and a final exam (40%).

Readings: Required Books

Hau'ofa, Epeli, Tales of the Tikongs 

Marshall, Mac, Weekend Warriors: Alcohol in a Micronesian Culture

Small, Cathy A. Voyages: From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs

Smith, Michael F.  Hard Times on Kairiru Island


Required Maps

Pacific Islands Map Set. $3 (available in class or from the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, Moore Hall 212)


Optional Books

Lockwood, Victoria, T. Harding, and B. Wallace, Contemporary Pacific Societies

Rapaport, Moshe, The Pacific Islands: Environment and Society.


Week by week outline:





1. Aug 27: Introduction: Envisioning the Pacific

no reading assigned


2. Aug 29: Overview: Cultural and Political Areas

guest speaker: Prof. Robert Kiste, UH Center for Pacific Islands Studies

reading: Kiste, “Pre-Colonial Times,” in Tides of History (3-28)


3. Aug 31: Voyaging & Imagining the Pacific

reading: Hau’ofa, “Our Sea of Islands,” (2-16)

film: Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey




5. Sept 5: Navigation: Technologies & Cultures of Voyaging

guest speaker: Prof. Ben Finney, UH Dept. of Anthropology

reading: Finney, The Other One-Third of the Globe (273-297).


6. Sept 7: Migration & Settlement: Linguistic & Archeological Views

reading: Pawley, “Language,” in Rapaport (181-194)


7. Sept 10: Reconstructing Island Pasts

guest speaker: Terry Hunt, UH Dept. of Anthropology

reading: Bellwood, “The Colonization of the Pacific,” (1-46)


8. Sept 12: Land and Sea Environments

reading: Fryer and Fryer, “Geology,” in Rapaport (33-35)

            Crocombe, “Tenure,” in Rapaport (208-220)


9. Sept 14: Atoll societies

reading: Alkire, Coral Islanders, Ch. 1, (3-18)

film: Mokil


10. Sept 17: MIDTERM EXAM I (with Map)



11. Sept 19: Cultural Identities

guest speaker: Prof. Vilsoni Hereniko, UH Center for Pacific Islands Studies

reading: Hereniko, “Representations of Cultural Identities,” (406-434).


12. Sept 21: Island Cosmologies: Land / Ancestors / Chiefs

reading: White, (19-51)


13. Sept 24: Social Relations: Exchange & Reciprocity

reading: Lindstrom, “Social Relations,” in Rapaport (195-207)


14. Sept 26: Political Patterns: “Big Men” and Chiefs

reading: Sahlins "Poor Man, Rich Man, Big Man, Chief" (203-215).


15. Sept 28: Big Men and Exchange Practices

film: Ongka’s Big Moka


16. Oct 1: Religious Concepts

reading: Shore, “Mana and Tapu,” (137-173)



 17. Oct 3: Colonization

reading: Hanlon, “Patterns of Colonial Rule in Micronesia,” (93-118)

guest speaker: Prof. David Hanlon, UH Dept of History


18. Oct 5: “First Contacts”

reading: White, (81-102)

film: First Contact


19. Oct 8: Christianity & Conversion

reading: White, (103-130)


20. Oct 10: Identity Rituals: Appropriation and Accomodation

reading: view Trobriand Cricket outside of class


21. Oct 12:  [MIDTERM EXAM II]


22. Oct 15: Social Movements & Decolonization

reading: TBA


23. Oct 17: The Pacific War

reading: White & Lindstrom, “War Stories,” (3-40)

film: Angels of War


24. Oct 19: Americanization & Militarization: Micronesia

reading: Carucci, ‘The Source of the Force,” (73-96).

guest speaker: Julie Walsh, PhD Candidate, UH Dept of Anthropology


25. Oct 22: Nuclear Pacific

reading: Alcalay, “Maelstrom in the Marshall Islands,” (25-36).

film: Radio Bikini



26. Oct 24: New Nations: Traditions and Democracies

reading: Kaplan, “Imagining a Nation,” (34-54).


27. Oct 26: Nationalism, Gender & Sexuality


28. Oct 29: Gender, Tradition & Modernity

reading: Errington & Gewertz, “...True Love...” (233-248).


29. Oct 31: Urban Transformations

reading: Marshall, 3-50

film: Yap, How Did You Know We’d Like TV?


30. Nov 2: Identity Struggles: Youth, Gender and Alcohol

reading: Marshall, 51-98


31. Nov 5: Drinking Dramas: “Rites of Modernization”

reading: Marshall, 99-136


32. Nov 7: Cultural Patterns of Conflict and Emotion: Suicide

reading: Rubinstein, “Love and Suffering,” (21-53)


33. Nov 9: “Disentangling”: Social Repair




35. Nov 14: Rural Lives and Pacific “Poverty”

reading: Smith, 1-69

film: Black Harvest


36. Nov 16: Morality and Worldview

reading: Smith, 70-133


37. Nov 19: Meanings of “Development”

reading: Smith, 134-189


38. Nov 21: Resistance and Rebellion: Bougainville

reading: Smith, 190-236

guest speaker: Prof. Eugene Ogan, UH Center for Pacific Islands Studies





40: Nov 26: Tourism

reading: Helu-Thaman, “Beyond Hula, Hotels and Handicrafts,” (104-111)


41. Nov 28: Custom & Tourism  [TOURISM ASSIGNMENT DUE]

film: Cannibal Tours

reading: Jolly, “Kastom as Commodity, (131-146)


42. Nov 30: “The Pacific Way”

reading: Hau’ofa, Tales of the Tikongs, 1-42


43: Dec 3: Ironies of “Development”

reading: Hau’ofa, Tales of the Tikongs, 43-93


44. Dec 5: Migration & Diaspora

reading: Small, 3-49

film: Sacred Vessels


45. Dec 7:  Roots & Routes: Pacific Islander Americans

reading:  Small, 51-100


46. Dec 10: Tradition, Modernity & the Politics of Culture

reading: Small, 101-158.


47. Dec 12: Traveling Cultures

reading: Small, 159-205


48. Dec 14:  FINAL EXAM


Reading List

(To avoid repetition, textbooks are not listed here. See page 2 for authors & titles).


Alcalay, Glenn H.

1984. Maelstrom in the Marshall Islands: The social impact of nuclear weapons testing. In Micronesia as strategic colony: The impact of U.S. policy on Micronesian health and culture. Occasional Paper No. 12., C. Lutz, ed., 25-36. Cambridge, MA: Cultural Survival.


Alkire, William H.

1978    Coral Islanders. Arlington Heights, IL: AHM Publishing. Chs. 1, “Coral Islands,” “Settlement, Survival and Growth.” Pp. 3-18.


Bellwood, Peter,

1989    The Colonization of the Pacific: Some Current Hypotheses. In The Colonization of the Pacific: A Genetic Trail. A Hill & S. Serjeantson, eds. Pp. 1-59.


Carucci, Laurence

1989 The Source of the Force in Marshallese Cosmology. In The Pacific Theater, G. White & L. Lindstrom, eds. Honolulu, University of Hawai‘i Press. Pp. 73-96.


Errington, Frederick  and Deborah Gewertz

1993  The Historical Course of True Love in the Sepik. In Lockwood et al. Pp. 233-248.


Finney, Ben

1994 The Other One-Third of the Globe. Journal of World History 5(2):273-297.


Fryer, Gerard J. and Patricia Fryer

1998 Geology. In Rapaport, 33-35.


Hanlon, David

1994. Patterns of Colonial Rule in Micronesia. In Tides of History: The Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century. R. Howe, Robert C. Kiste, & Brij V. Lal, editors. Pp. 93-118. University of Hawaii Press.


Hau'ofa, Epeli

1993 Our Sea of Islands. In A new Oceania : rediscovering our sea of islands. E. Hau'ofa, E. Waddell, and V. Naidu, eds. Pp. 2-16. Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific.


Helu-Thaman, Konai

1993 Beyond Hula, Hotels and Handicrafts: A Pacific Islander's Perspective of Tourist Development. The Contemporary Pacific 5(1): 104-111.


Hereniko, Vilsoni

1994 Representations of Cultural Identities. In Tides of History: The Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century. K. Howe, R. Kiste, and B. Lal, eds. Pp. 406-434. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.


Jolly, Margaret

1994 Kastom as Commodity: The Land Dive as Indigenous Rite and Tourist Spectacle in Vanuatu. In Culture, Kastom, Tradition: Cultural Policy in Melanesia. L.

Lindstrom and G. White, eds. Pp. 131-146. Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies.


Kaplan, Martha

1993. Imagining a Nation: Race, Politics, and Crisis in Postcolonial Fiji. In Lockwood, Pp. 34-54.


Kiste, Robert.

1994. Pre-Colonial Times. In Tides of History: The Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century. R. Howe, R. Kiste, & Brij V. Lal, editors. Pp. 3-28. University of Hawaii Press.


Pawley, Andrew.

1998. Language. In Rapaport, Pp. 181-194.


Rubinstein, Donald H.

1995. Love and suffering: Adolescent socialization and suicide in Micronesia. The Contemporary Pacific 7(l):21-53.


Sahlins, Marshall

1963. Poor Man, Rich Man, Big Man, Chief: Political Types in Melanesia and Polynesia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 5(3) 285-303. [Reprinted in Harding & Wallace, 1970, Pp. 203-215]


Shore, Bradd.

1989. 'Mana and tapu' in A Howard and R Borofsky, Developments in Polynesian Ethnology.Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Pp 137-174


White, Geoffrey

1991 Identity Through History: Living Stories in a Solomon Islands Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


White, Geoffrey M., and Lamont Lindstrom

1989 Introduction: War Stories. In The Pacific Theater: Island Representations of World War II. G.M. White and L. Lindstrom, eds. Pp. 3-40. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.





Angels of War: the People of Papua New Guinea and World War II (1980) by Andrew Pike, Hank Nelson and Gavan Daws. Boroko, Papua New Guinea: Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies (54 minutes).


Black Harvest (1992). by Robin Anderson and Bob Connolly for Arundel Productions. Santa Monica: Direct Cinema. (90 minutes).


Cannibal Tours (1987)  by Dennis O'Rourke. A film by Dennis O'Rourke. Los Angeles, California: Direct Cinema Ltd. (77 minutes).


First contact (1984)  by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson in association with Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies. New York, NY : Filmakers Library. (55 min.)


(The) Kawelka: Ongka's Big Moka (1982) Disappearing World. Granada Television. Chicago, Ill: Films Incorporated Video; Icarus [UHM AV/C 5291]. (52 min.).


The Lau of Malaita (1991) Granada Television. Chicago, Ill: Films Incorporated Video (51 minutes).


Radio Bikini (1987) by Robert Stone of the Crossroads Film Project. 1/2 inch VHS, Color. Produced by PBS video. [Lib-UHM AV/C 2130] (60 min.)


Sacred Vessels: navigating tradition and identity in Micronesia (1998) GMF, Guam : Moving Islands Production.  (28 min.)


Trobriand cricket an ingenious response to colonialism (1975)  by Gary Kildea & Jerry Leach; produced by Office of Information, Government of Papua New Guinea.         Berkeley, CA : University of Calif. Extension Media Center (53 min.)


Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey (1999)  Maiden Voyage Productions (60 minutes)


Yap: How Did You Know We'd Like TV? (1982) by Dennis O’Rourke. Film Australia

Library Code: UHM AV/C 4435, UH film H69 (55 min.)


Upload: 09/05/2001

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