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Contemporary Issues and Problems in Micronesia

M1503 Proseminar

Spring Semester, 1999, TTH 5:30-6:50pm

Dr. Kimberlee Kihleng

Micronesian Studies Program

University of Guam


Description and Objectives

As one of the core courses of the Micronesian Studies Program, this seminar offers a topical, multidisciplinary approach to several key issues and problems in contemporary, postcolonial Micronesia. In critically examining these regional issues, the seminar will focus on the program core areas of cultural ecology and resource management, social and health services, political and economic development, and culture change. We will also address the complex ways in which these contemporary issues link Micronesia to a larger world system, particularly given its long colonial/neocolonial encounter with the United States. Our main objective this semester will be to gain a critical and in-depth understanding of the culturally rich and diverse Micronesian region from the perspective of its current issues and concerns.

Requirements and Expectations

This is a reading seminar which will focus largely on your informed discussion, writings, comments, and questions. Each of the seminar's 15 weeks will deal with a particular topic relevant to our inquiry into contemporary Micronesian issues and problems. Occasionally, we will also have guest speakers with expertise in various seminar topics join the Tuesday sessions. For most sessions, I will offer introductory comments on the topic and lead seminar discussions where you, as the students, will be the main discussants. It is therefore imperative to the success of the seminar that you attend all sessions and that you come prepared having read and reflected upon the assigned readings. More than one unexcused absence will result in no credit being earned for the seminar.

You will also be requested to produce a five to seven page (typewritten) summary/critical analysis of your readings and investigations for two seminar sessions of your choice in consultation with me and the other seminar participants. For these two sessions you will also be asked to give an oral presentation of the readings/writings, 15 to 20 minutes in length, and to lead the seminar discussion (beginning with Week 4, Feb. 9-11). I will hand out theme questions for each topic (a week in advance) to assist you in your written presentation, oral summary, and discussion. The written assignments must be handed in on the day of your presentations with copies for each participant. Late assignments will not be accepted. There will also be a final examination for the seminar, which will be held on the Tuesday of exam week. This will be an essay examination which will cover all of the seminar readings and discussions. The collection of written summaries will serve as a review and study guide. Your grade will be based on your written and oral presentations, your discussions/interactions within the seminar, and the final examination.


Readings: Most of the sessions will have required as well as recommended readings. These reading lists are in no way exhaustive of the vast body of literature on Micronesia, rather they were chosen based on what is important, representative, and relevant to the seminar's objectives. Assigned articles will be xeroxed for you and assigned books will be available through RFK or MARC Libraries, or for purchase at Faith Bookstore, Bestseller, or through <>. The several videos that have been assigned are available for viewing also at the RFK or MARC.

Seminar Schedule

Week 1, January 21: Introduction and Orientation

Week 2, January 26: Overview of the Contemporary Pacific: the Micronesian Perspective.

Required Readings:

Ron Crocombe, "The Pacific Islands: Potentials and Options for the 21st Century," Journal of the Pacfic Society 15 (2-3), 1992.

Victoria Lockwood, "An Introduction to Contemporary Pacific Societies," Contemporary Pacijic Societies, 1993.

Robert Kiste, "New Political Statuses in American Micronesia," Contemporary Pacific Societies, 1993.

Recommended Readings:

Robert Underwood, "Pacific Islands Scholarship and Social Development," Pacific History, 1990.

Week 2, January 28: Global Climatic Change and Sea Level Warming: Implications for Micronesia. (Guest lecturer: Dr. Harley Manner)

Required Readings:

Harley Manner, "A Review of Atoll Agriculture and Ecology with Respect to Climate Changes and Sea Level Rise in the Pacific Basin," Global Warming-related effects on agriculture and human health and comfort in the South Pacific, Philip J. Hughes and Glenn McGregor (eds.), 1990.

Harold Brookfield, "Global change and the Pacific: Problems for the coming half-century," The Contemporary Pacific (1 & 2), 1989.

John Connell and Peter Roy, "The Greenhouse effect: The impact of sea level rise on low coral islands in the South Pacific," Implications of expected climate changes in the South Pacific region: An overview, J.C. Pernetta and P.J. Hughes (eds.) 1990.

Recommended Readings:

Richard Houghton and George M. Woodwell, "Global climatic change, " Scientific American, vo1. 260 (4), 1989.

R.R. Thaman, "Climate change, forestry and agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Impacts and appropriate responses," Climate change and sea level rise in the South Pacific region:

Proceedings of the Second SPREP Meeting, J. Hay and C. Kaluwin (eds.), 1993.

John Connell and John Lea, "Global warming: Meeting the planning challenge in island states," Climate change and sea level rise in the South Pacific region: Proceedings of the Second SPREP Meeting, J. Hay and C. Kaluwin (eds.), 1993.

Week 3, February 2-4: Coral Reef Ecology, and Threats to the Marine Environment in Micronesia. (Guest lecturer: Dr. Bob Richmond)

Required Readings:

Nora N. Devoe, "Mangrove Exploitation and Conservation in the Federated States of Micronesia," ISLA 2(l) Rainy Season, 1994.

Robert H. Richmond, "Coral reefs: Present problems and future concerns resulting from anthropogenic disturbance," American Zoology 33, 1993.

Clive Wilkinson, "Coral reefs of the world are facing widespread devastation: Can we prevent this through sustainable management practices?" Proceedings of the Seventh International Coral Reef Symposium, University of Guam, 1993.

Options 2000, Islands on the Edge, Video, 1997--to be viewed during the Feb.2 seminar.

Week 4, February 9-11: The Culture and Politics of Historic Preservation in Micronesia.

Required Readings:

Brian Butler, "The future of Micronesia's past," Pacific History: Papers from the 8th Pacific History Association Conference, 1992.

Teddy John, "Historic preservation and development in the Federated States of Micronesia: An overview," Pacific History: Papers from the 8th Pacific History Association Conference, 1992.

Elizabeth L. Krause, "The looking glass of historic preservation in Micronesia: A reflection of modernization and changing values," Human Organization 51(2), 1992.

Glenn Petersen, "Nan Madol's contested landscape: Topography and tradition in the Eastern Caroline Islands," ISLA: A Journal of Micronesian Studies 3(l), 1995.

Lin Poyer, "Defining history across cultures: Islander and outsider contrasts," ISLA 1(1), 1992.

Recommended Readings:

Kimberlee Kihleng, The Palau Oral History Program: An Inventory, Evaluation, and Research Design for the Future. Final Report, 1996.

Faustina K. Rehuher, "The museum as a guardian of tradition: Authenticating performing arts," Pacific History: Papers from the 8th Pacific History Association Conference, 1992.

DeVerne Reed Smith, Recommendations for the Preservation of the Historic and Cultural Resources of Palau. Micronesian Resources Study Final Report.

US National Park Service, Procedures Manual for the Historic Preservation Programs of Freely Associated States of Micronesia, 1993.

Week 5, February 16-18: Nuclear Militarism in Micronesia.

Required Readings:

Glenn H. Alcalay, "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., Catherine A. Lutz, ed., 25-36. Cambridge, MA: Cultural Survival, 1984.

Zohl De’ Ishtar, Daughters of the Pacific, Chapters 2 and 3, 1994.

Teresia K. Teaiwa, "bikinis and other s/pacific n/oceans." The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 6, no. 1, Spring 1994.

Jonathan M. Weisgall, "The Nuclear Nomads of Bikini Atoll," Foreign Policy, 39(1978), pp. 74-89.

Dennis O'Rourke, Half Life: A Parablefor the Aritclear Age. Video, 1986.

Strategic Trust: The Making of a Nuclear Free Palau, Video, 1984.

Recommended Readings:

Jane Dibblin, Day of Two Suns: U.S. Nuclear Testing and the Pacific Islands, 1990.

Stewart Firth, Nuclear Playground.

Stewart Firth, "The Nuclear Issue in the Pacific Islands," Journal of Pacific History, Vol. 21, no. 4 (1986), pp. 202-216.

Jonathan M. Weisgall, Operation Crossroads: The Atomic Tests at Bikini Atoll, 1994.

Lynn Wilson, Speaking to Power: Gender and Politics in the Western Pacific.

Week 6, February 23-25: Alcohol and Abuse Micronesia.

Required Readings:

Francis X. Hezel, SJ, "American Anthropology’s Contribution to Social Problems Research in Micronesia." IN In American Anthropology in Micronesia: An Assessment. ed. by Robert C. Kiste and Mac Marshall, 1999.

Mac Marshall, Weekend Warriors: Alcohol in a Micronesian culture. 1979 (selected chapters)

Mac Marshall, "A Pacific haze: Alcohol and drugs in Oceania," Contemporary Pacific Societies, 1993.

Karen Nero, "The hidden pain: Drunkenness and domestic violence in Palau," Special issue on domestic violence, Pacific Studies 13 (3), 1990.

Micronesian Seminar, Too High!, Video No. 8.

Recommended Readings:

Francis Mahoney, Social and cultural factors relating to the cause and control of alcohol abuse among Micronesian youth. Report prepared for the Government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, 1974.

Mac Marshall and Leslie Marshall, Silent voices speak: Women and prohibition in Truk, 1990.

Mac Marshall, "'Problem deflation and the ethnographic record: Interpretation and introspection in anthropological studies of alcohol," Journal of Substance Abuse 2, 1990.

James D. Nason, "Sardines and other fried fish: The consumption of alcoholic beverages on a Micronesian island," Journal of Studies on Alcohol 36(5), 1975.

Donald Rubinstein, "Paradigms lost: The anthropology of alcohol in Truk," Review of Silent voices speak: Women and prohibition in Truk, by Mac and Leslie Marshall, Micronesica 23(2), 1990.


Week 7, March 2-4: Suicide in Micronesia (Guest Lecturer: Dr. Don Rubinstein)

Required Readings:

Francis X. Hezel, " Suicide and the Micronesian family, " The Contemporary Pacific (1 &2), 1989.

Donald H. Rubinstein, "Suicide in Micronesia and Samoa: A critical review of explanations," Pacific Studies 15(l), 1992.

Donald H. Rubinstein, "Love and suffering: Adolescent socialization and suicide in Micronesia," The Contemporary Pacific 7(l), 1995.

Recommended Readings:

Ann Q. Lynn and Blair W. Sparks (eds.) Death by suicide in Guam and Micronesia: A collection of studies on suicide by students at the University of Guam, 1985.

Week 8, March 11: Language in Micronesia: Issues of Change, Loss, and Survival.

(Holiday—March 9)

Required Readings:

Elizabeth Keating, Power Sharing: Language, rank, gender, and social space in Pohnpei, Micronesia. Ph.D. dissertation, UCLA, 1994. (selected chapters)

Mary Spencer, "And what of the languages of Micronesia?" In Pacific Languages in Education. ed. by France Mugler, 1995.

___________, "Literacy in Micronesia." ISLA 1:2, Dry Season, 1992.

Robert Underwood, "English and Chamorro on Guam." World Englishes, Vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 73-82, 1989.

Week 9, March16-18: Changing Gender Relations in Micronesia.

Required Readings:

Juliana Flinn, "Who Defines Custom? Dance and Gender in a Micronesian Case," Anthropological Forum, 6:4.

Kimberlee Kihleng, Women in Exchange: Negotiated Relations, Practice, and the Constitution of Female Power in Processes of Cultural Reproduction and Change in Pohnpei, Micronesia. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Hawaii, 1996 (selected chapters)

Laura M. Torres Souder, "Conflict Management by Micronesian Women, A Strategy for

Progress," ISLA 1(2) Dry Season, 1992.

Teresia K. Teaiwa, "Microwomen: U.S. Colonialism and Micronesian Women Activists," Pacific History: Papers from the 8th Pacific History Association Conference, 1992.

Micronesian Seminar, Women’s Changing Roles in Micronesia, Video, No. 2.

Recommended Readings:

Mac and Leslie Marshall, Silent Voices Speak: Women andProhibitiOn in Truk. 1990.

Laura Souder-Jaffery, Daughters of the Island: Contemporary Chamorro Women Organizers on Guam, 1992.

Lynn Wilson, Speaking to Power: Gender and Politics in the Western Pacific, 1995.

Week 10, March 23-25: Health and Health Care in Micronesia.

Required Readings:

Ann Pobutsky Workman and Debbie Kamminga Quinata, "Epidemiology as Labeling, Neurological Diseases and Stigma on Guam," ISLA 4(l), Rainy Season, 1996.

Usha K. Prasad, "Research Needs for Improving the Health of Micronesian Children," ISLA 1(2) Dry Season, 1992.

Donald H. Rubinstein, "Staking Ground: Medical Anthropology, Health, and Medical Services in Micronesia." In American Anthropology in Micronesia: An Assessment. ed. by Robert C. Kiste and Mac Marshall, 1999.

Penny Schoeffel, "Food, Health, and Development in the Pacific: Policy Implications for

Micronesia," ISLA 1(2) Dry Season, 1992.

Iain K.B. Twaddle, J. Peter Roberto, and Ladisa D. Quintanilla, "Chamorro Narratives on Psychosocial Problems and Indigenous Helping and Healing Practices in Guam." Unpublished paper, 1998.

Recommended Viewing:

Micronesian Seminar, More Than Just Doctors, Video, No. 6.

Micronesian Seminar, Owning Our Own Health, Video, No. 7.

Week 11, April 6-8: Re-negotiating the Compacts of Free Association: The Politics of (In)dependency and Development.

Required Readings:

Aurelia Brazeal and Allen Stayman, Testimony of Aurelia E. Brazeal, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and statement by Alen P. Stayman, Director of Office of Insular Affairs, to the House Committee on International Relations, 1996.

Government of the U.S., and Government of FSM, Agreement between the Government of the U.S. and the Government of the FSM regarding friendship, cooperation, and mutual security concluded pursuant to Sections 321 and 323 of the CFA.

Robert C. Kiste, "Termination of the US Trusteeship in Micronesia." Journal of Pacific History 21 (July-October): 127-38, 1986.

Edward J. Michal, "Protected states: The political status of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands." The Contemporary Pacific 5 (Fall):302-32, 1993

United States, Compact of Free Association, Act of 1985. Public Law 99-239, 99th Congress.

Week 12, April 13-15: Custom and Tradition in the Context of Micronesian Nation-Building.

Required Readings:

Alain Babadzan, Kastom and Nation-Building in the South Pacific. (n.d.)

Glenn Petersen, "Pohnpei Ethnicity and Micronesian Nation-Building," Ethnicity and Nation-Building in the Pacific, edited by Michael C. Howard.

__________, "Ponapean chieftainship in the era of the nation-state," Outwitting the state.

Political Anthropology, vol. 7, ed. by Peter Skalnik, 1989.

Eve Pinsker, "Traditional Leaders Today in the Federated States of Micronesia," Unpublished ASAO paper.

_________, "Celebrations of Government: Dance Performance and Legitimacy in the FSM," Pacific Studies, 1992.

Donald R. Shuster, "Custom Versus a New Elite," JPH


Week 13, April 20-22: Small Island Economies: Are they Sustainable?

Required Readings:

John Connell, "Island microstates: The mirage of development," The Contemporary Pacific 3(2), 1991.

David Hanlon, "Remaking Micronesia: A Reflection on the Cultural and Strategic Politics of Economic Development in American Micronesia, 1945-1968." IN Dangerous Liaisons: Essays in Honour of Greg Dening, Donna Merwick, ed.

___________, "The end of history for the edge of paradise? Economic development and the Compacts of Free Association in American Micronesia." IN Lines across the sea: Colonial inheritance in the post colonial Pacific, eds. Brij V. Lal and Hank Nelson, 93-94, 1995.

Francis Hezel, "Expensive Tastes for Modernity: Caroline and Marshall Islands," Social Change, in the Pacific Islands, Albert Robillard, ed., 1992.

Michael Ogden, "MIRAB and the Marshall Islands." ISLA 2(2) Dry Season, 1994.

Recommended Readings:

David Hanlon, Remaking Micronesia: Discourses Over Development in a Pacific Territory, 1944-1982. University of Hawaii Press, 1998.

Week 14, April 27-29: Migration in Micronesia.

Required Readings:

John Connell, "Modernity and its discontents," Migration and development in the South Pacific, John Connell, ed., 1990

Jim Hess, "Migration, Networks, Resources, and Households: The Formation of a Marshallese Community in Orange County, Unpublished paper.

Francis X Hezel and Michael J. Levin, "Micronesian emigration: Beyond the brain drain,"

Migration and development in the South Pacific, John Connell, ed., 1990.

Karen Nero, "Workers and Servants: the Internationalization of Palauan Households,"

Unpublished paper, 1993.

Donald Rubinstein and Michael J. Levin, "Micronesian Migration to Guam: Social and Economic Characteristics," Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, vol. 1, no. 2, 1992.

Week 15, May 4-6: Negotiating Culture and Identity in Postcolonial Micronesia.

Required Readings:

Juliana Flinn, "We Still have our Customs: Being Pulapese," Cultural Identity and Ethnicity in the Pacific, Jocelyn Linnekin and Lin Poyer, eds., 1990

Jocelyn Linnekin and Lin Poyer, "Introduction." Cultural Identity and Ethnicity in the Pacific.

Jocelyn Linnekin, "The Politics of Culture in the Pacific." Cultural Identity and Ethnicity in the Pacific.

Michael Perez, The Dialectic of Indigenous Identity in the Wake of Colonialism: The Case of Chamorros of Guam, Ph.D. dissertation, UC, Riverside, 1997. (selected chapters)

Lin Poyer, "Ethnicity and Identity in Micronesia.: IN American Anthropology in Micronesia: An Assessment, ed. by Robert C. Kiste and Mac Marshall, 1999.

Week 16, May 11-13: Cultural Continuity in the Face of Change.

Required Readings:

Vicente Diaz, "Simply Chamorro: Telling Tales of Demise and Survival in Guam," The

Contemporary Pacific, 6:1 (Spring) 1994.

Laurence M. Carucci, Christmas on Ujelang: The Politics of Continuity in the Context of Change, IN Contemporary Pacific Societies, Victoria Lockwood, ed., 1993.

Glenn Petersen, "The Ponapean Culture of Resistance," Radical History Review 28-30, 1984.

Recommended Reading:

Laurence M. Carucci, Nuclear Nativity. 1998.

Week 17, May 17-19: Final Examination.

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