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Anthropology 350: Pacific Islands Cultures

CRN: 80229

Class website is on the WebCT server: http://webct.hawaii.edu/

Class email list: anth350-l@hawaii.edu


Anthropology 350 

Geoffrey White

Fall semester 2004

Anthropology Department

Tues/Thurs  1:30-2:45

Saunders Hall 322

Place: Webster 113 


Office Hrs: Tues 3-5 pm & by appt.





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 remarkable histories of cultural accomplishment and political struggle. 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 the experience of indigenous communities and with representations of the Pacific generated inside and outside the region.

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. The experience of Pacific communities, past and present, has much to teach us about living in 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 communities that make up the island region today, with particular attention to the interplay of culture and politics.



Active student participation through contributions to class discussion is important (10%). The remaining 90 % of a student’s grade will consist of a mid-term exam (20%), film essays (25%), and a final exam (45%).

Readings: Required Books

- Reading Packet: purchase from Campus Copy, 2465 Campus Rd #104 (941-1098)

            [NOTE: packet readings also on reserve at Sinclair Library]

- Hau'ofa, Epeli, Tales of the Tikongs 


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, Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands

White, Geoffrey M. Identity Through History: Living Stories in a Solomon Island Society

Week by week outline:




1. Aug 24:  Introduction

no reading assigned


2. Aug 26:  Envisioning the Pacific

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

film: Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey


3. Aug 31:  Overview: Geographic / Linguistic / Political Areas

Reading: Kiste, “Pre-Colonial Times,” in Tides of History (3-21)

4. Sept 2:  Mapping the Pacific: Geography/ Culture / History

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

5. Sept 7:  Migration and Settlement: Archeological and Linguistic Views

guest speaker: Terry Hunt, UH Dept. of Anthropology

reading: D’Arcy & Tryon, “Settlement of the Pacific,” Encyclopedia (53-67)


6. Sept 9: Voyaging & Navigating the Pacific

guest speaker: Prof. Ben Finney

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


 7. Sept 14: MIDTERM EXAM I (with Map)



8. Sept 16:  Island Cosmologies: Ancestors / Descent / Land

reading: White, Ch. 3, “Portraits of the Past” in Identity Through History (30-51)


9. Sept 21:  Political Systems: Chiefs, Feasts, and Power

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

film: Ongka’s Big Moka

10. Sept 23:  Oceanic Spirituality: Ancestors / Spirits / Power

reading: Shore, “Mana and Tapu” (137-151)





11. Sept 28:  Christianity & Conversion

reading: White, Ch 6, “Conversion & Consolidation,” Identity Through History (103-130)

film: The Transformed Isles


12. Sept 30: The Pacific War

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


13. Oct 5:  Colonial Histories

reading: Lockwood, “The Global Imperative and Pacific Island Societies” (1-21)

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


14. Oct 7:  Nuclear Pacific

reading: Kahn, “Placing Tahitian Identities” in Lockwood (285-306)

film: Radio Bikini





15. Oct 12: Ironies of “Development”

reading: Hau’ofa, Tales of the Tikongs, 1-56


16. Oct 14:  “The Pacific Way”

reading: Hau’ofa, Tales of the Tikongs, 57-93

film: Babakiueria


17. Oct 19:  Crises of Globalization I: Mining (Bougainville)

reading: Regan A. “The Bougainville Conflict and Peace Process, 1988-1998” (261-263)

            Spriggs, Ruth “Chronology of a Crisis.” in Pacific Is: Encyclopedia (263-265)

guest speaker: Terence Wesley-Smith

18. Oct 21:  Crises of Globalization II: Forestry (Solomons)

reading: Macintyre & Foale, “Global Imperatives and Local Desires” in Lockwood

             (excerpt, 160-164)

film: Since The Company Came 

19. Oct 26:  Nation-making: Solomon Islands

reading: White, “Natives and Nations” (139-166)

Guest speaker: Dr. Tarcisius Kabutaulaka, East-West Center.

film: For Guns and Money

20. Oct 28: Nation-making: Ethnicity, Tradition and Democracy in Fiji

reading: Kaplan, “Fiji’s Coups” in Lockwood (72-85)

film: Race for Rights




22. Nov 4:  Americanization & Militarization: Micronesia

reading: Diaz, ‘Fight Boys ‘til the Last…’: Islandstyle Football . . .  in the Militarized American Pacific Islands” (169-194).

film: Sacred Vessels


23. Nov 9:  Nationalism, Gender & Sexuality

reading: Tengan, “(En)Gendering Colonialism” (239-256)

guest speaker: Prof. Ty Kawika Tengan, UH Depts. of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies







25. Nov 16:  Urban Pacific: Scenes and Circuits

reading: Mitchell, “’Killing Time’ in a Postcolonial Town,” in Lockwood (358-376).

film: Killing Time


26. Nov 18:  Roots & Routes: Pacific Islander Americans

reading: Lee, Helen Morton, “All Tongans Are Connected” in Lockwood (133-148)

guest speaker: Prof. Heather Young Leslie, UH Dept. of Anthropology


27. Nov 23:   Pacific Diaspora

reading: Kauanui, “Off-Island Hawaiians ‘Making’ Ourselves at ‘Home’” (681-693)

film: Velvet Dreams




29. Nov 30:  Tourism: Local Places / Global Flows

reading: Silverman, “Cannibalizing, Commodifying . . .  in Sepik River Tourism” in Lockwood (339-357)

film: Cannibal Tours

30. Dec 2:  Tourism: Consuming Others

reading: Trask, “Tourism and the Prostitution of Hawaiian Culture” (21-23)

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

website: Historic Waikiki: http://www.downwindproductions.com/


31. Dec 7:  Traveling Cultures: Pacific Hip Hop

reading:  Henderson, “Between Our Islands We Dance” (1-30)

guest speaker: Prof. Katerina Teaiwa, UH Center for Pacific Islands Studies



no reading assigned


48. Dec xx:  FINAL EXAM



Reading List


Bellwood, Peter, M Spriggs, J Golson, P D’Arcy, K. Fortune. “Settlement” In The Pacific Islands: An Encylopedia. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Pp. 53-67.


Diaz, Vicente (2002). ‘Fight Boys, til the Last’.... In Pacific Diaspora. P. Spickard et al., eds. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Pp. 169-194.


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


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. Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific.Pp. 2-16. 


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


Henderson, April. (in press). Between Our Islands We Dance: Hip Hop and Samoan Diaspora. In Dipa Basu and Sidney J. Lemelle, eds, The Vinyl Ain't Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture. London: Pluto Press.


Kahn, Miriam. 2004. “Placing Tahitian Identities: Rooted in Land and Enmeshed in Representations.” In Lockwood, ed. Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands. Pp. 285-306


Kaplan, Martha. 2004. “Fiji’s Coups: The Politics of Representation and the Representation of Politics.” In V. Lockwood, ed. Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands. Pp. 72-85.


Kauanui, J. Kehaulani. 1998. Off-Island Hawaiians "Making" Ourselves at "Home": A [Gendered] Contradiction in Terms? Women's Studies International Forum 21(6): 681-693.


Kiste, Robert. 1994. Pre-Colonial Times. In Tides of History: The Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century. R. Howe, R. Kiste, & Brij V. Lal, eds. University of Hawaii Press. Pp. 3-21 (excerpt).


Lee, Helen Morton. 2004. “All Tongans are Connected: Tongan Transnationalism.” In V. Lockwood, ed., Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands. Pp. 133-148.


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


Lockwood, Victoria. 2004 “The Global Imperative and Pacific Island Societies.” In V. Lockwood, ed., Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands. Pp. 1-21.


Macintyre, Martha and Simone Foale, “Global Imperatives and Local Desires: Competing Economic and Environmental Interests in Melanesian Communities.” in Lockwood, ed. Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands. Pp. 149-164


Mitchell, Jean. 2004. “’Killing Time’ in a Postcolonial Town: Young People and Settlements in Port Vila, Vanuatu.” In Lockwood, ed. Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands. Pp. 358-376.


Reagan, Anthony. 2000. “The Bougainville Conflict and Peace Process, 1988-1998.” In The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia. B. Lal & K. Fortune, editors. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Pp. 261-263.


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, eds. Developments in Polynesian Ethnology.Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Pp 137-174


Silverman, Eric. 2004. “Cannibalizing, Commodifying, or Creating Culture?: Power and Art in Sepik River Tourism,” In V. Lockwood, ed., Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands. Pp. 339-357.


Spriggs, Ruth. 2000. “Chronology of a Crisis.” In The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia. B. Lal & K. Fortune, editors. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. Pp. 263-265.


Tengan, Ty Kawika. 2003 (En)Gendering Colonialism: Masculinities in Hawai‘i and Aotearoa. Cultural Values: Journal for Cultural Research 6(2): 239-256.


Trask, Haunani-Kay. 1999  Tourism and the Prostitution of Hawaiian Culture. In Ecotourism, Sustainable Development, and Cultural Survival: Protecting Indigenous Culture and Land Through Ecotourism. Cultural Survival Quarterly Summer 1999 (23.2): 21-23.


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


White, Geoffrey. 2001. Natives and Nations: Identity Formation in Postcolonial Melanesia. In R. Prazniak & A. Dirlik, eds. Places and Politics in an Age of Globalization. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Pp. 139-166.




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).


Babakiueria (1986) Director, Don Featherstone. Australia : Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (29 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.)


Guns and Money (2002) producer, Janine Cohen ; reporter, Liz Jackson. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation [UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 20447] (45 min)


Joe Leahy’s Neighbors (1987)  by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson in association with Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies. New York, NY : Filmakers Library. (60 min.)


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


Kilim Taem (Killing Time) (1998)

In Melanesian Pidgin with English subtitles. UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 18783 (50 min)


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.)


Since the Company Came (2000) filmed, directed & produced by Russell Hawkins [Canberra, Australia]: Ronin Films, c2000. [UHM AV/C 18175] (52 min.)


The Transformed Isle: Barbarism to Christianity (1920)

Silent with captions. [UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 1940] (30 min)


Velvet Dreams (1997)

[UHM AV/C VIDEOTAPE 17151] (46 min,)


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



Upload: 9/14/2004

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