Pacific Studies Initiative Syllabi & Bibliographies



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Cultural Identities: America and the Pacific

Pacific Islands Studies (PACS) 693

Spring 1999

Time: Wednesday  Instructor: Geoffrey White
Place: Social Sciences Bldg 244 East-West Center
Office Hours: by appointment  Burns Hall 2106

Course Description:

This course explores the significance of cultural identities as imagined, lived and debated in the United States and Pacific Island societies. We will discuss constructions of culture and identity in a variety of contexts where representations of identity make a difference. "Difference" here includes literally marking differences among people, but also creating or disabling opportunities for political action and social well-being--making a difference in everyday life as well as in local, national and global politics. We will discuss a variety of contexts and practices important for identity formation in the contemporary Pacific, including migration, tourism, media, and public performance.

The course combines discussion of relevant theoretical terms such as culture, ethnicity, gender, and nation with comparative study of specific identities in the Pacific and America. We will give particular attention to local identity struggles in HawaiŽi, with its mediating position between America and Pacific Island societies.

Aims: at the end of the course, students should be able to:

-understand concepts of culture and identity and the basis for their contentious nature in contemporary society

-compare particular forms and uses of cultural identity in America and the Pacific

-critically examine representational practices (media, film, exhibits, performances) and historical forces that shape American and Pacific identities today.

-evaluate and justify particular definitions and expressions of cultural identity, including one's own assumptions.


Active engagement with readings and discussions is important for the class. Students will share responsibility for directing discussion of readings, and keep a journal of critical reflections on both readings and discussion. In addition to the collective work of seminar sessions, each student will undertake an individual project in the form of a final paper. Projects may be based on a case study of original material gathered from the media or fieldwork, or on critical assessment of selected readings. Grading will be based on class participation (20%), written assignments--including reading journal--(35%), and final paper (45%).

Required Texts (available in bookstore and on reserve, EWC):

Eric Michaels, Bad Aboriginal Art: Tradition, Media and Technological Horizons

Michael Omi & Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States

Cathy Small, Voyages: From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs

Course Outline:

I. Introduction

Jan 13 Introduction
  film: Stuart Hall: Race, The Floating Signifier


II. Ethnicity/Nation/Gender

Jan 20 Culture, Race, Ethnicity
  (Hereniko 1994), 406-434
  (Omi and Winant 1994), vii-35
  (Dominguez 1998), 1-31 
  (Kauanui 1998), 1-9


Jan 27 Nations & States
  (Omi and Winant 1994), 36-91
  (Trask 1993), 51-77
  (Lindstrom 1998), 141-188
  (Iamo and Simet 1998), 189-204
Feb 3 Minorities and Multiculturalism
  (Kelly 1995), 475-497
  (Guerrero 1996), 49-63
  (Okamura 1998), 264-284
Feb 10 Gender, Sexuality & Nationalism
  (Zimmer 1993), 61-97
  (Narakobi 1983), 34-38
  (Teaiwa 1994), 87-109
  (Hall 1996), 113-118


III. Roots & Routes

Feb 17 Land & Ancestry: Politics of the Indigenous
  (Roe, et al. 1994), 115-129
  (White 1991), 56-60
  (Burt 1991), 61-64
  (Winslow 1991), 65-70
  (Populations 1993), 279-288
Feb 24 Development Discourse
  (Hanlon 1998), 1-20
  (Hau'ofa 1983), 18-26; 48-93
  Bank of Hawai'i Report
Mar 3 Migration & Diaspora I
  (Hall 1990)
  (Small 1997), 3-120
  film: Sacred Vessels


Mar 10 Migration & Diaspora II
  (Small 1997), 121-216
  (Hau'ofa 1993), 2-16
Mar 17 Tourism: Performing Culture
  (Trask 1993), 179-197
  (Desmond 1997), 83-109
  (Jolly 1994), 131-146
  (Gewertz and Errington 1991),25-57
  film: The Lau of Malaita


IV. Representing Cultural Identities

Mar 31 Museums & Theme Parks
  (Clifford 1997), 147-187
  (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1998), 131-176
  (Stanley 1998), 36-63
  film: Polynesian Odyssey
Apr 7 Visual Art
  (Michaels 1994), xxvii-xxxvi, 49-61, 80-95, 143-163
  (Nero 1992), 235-260
Apr 14 Film
  (Jolly 1997), 99-122
  (Mellon 1992)
  film: Taking Pictures
Apr 21 Indigenous Media
  (Michaels 1994), 21-47, 63-78, 101-124
  (Ginsburg 1993), 557-578
  (Kauanui 1997), 1-8
  (DuPuis 1999), 1-18
  film: Storytellers of the Pacific
Apr 28 Pacific on the Internet and World Wide Web
  (Howard 1999), 1-30
  (Ogden 1999), 1-14


V. Reflections

May 5 Conclusion


Course Readings:

Burt, Ben

1991 Land Rights and Development: Writing About Kwara'ae Tradition. Cultural Survival Quarterly 15(2):61-64.

Clifford, James

1997 Paradise. In Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Pp. 147-187. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Desmond, Jane C.

1997 Invoking "The Native": Body Politics in Contemporary Hawaiian Tourist Shows. The Drama Review 41(4):83-109.

Dominguez, Virginia

1998 Exporting U.S. Concepts of Race: Are There Limits to the U.S.Model? Social Research 65(2):1-31.

DuPuis, Reshela

1999 Ritual at Uluhaimalama: Re-presenting Hawaiian history through community video. Ethnohistory .

Gewertz, Deborah, and Fred Errington

1991 The New Traditionalism: Tourism and its transformations. In Twisted Histories, Altered Contexts: Representing the Chambri in a World System. Pp. 25-57. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ginsburg, Faye

1993 Aboriginal Media and the Australian Imaginary. Public Culture 5(3):557-78.

Guerrero, M. Annette Jaimes

1996 Academic apartheid: American Indian Studies and "Multiculturalism". In Mapping Multiculturalism. A.F. Gordon and C. Newfield, eds. Pp. 49-63. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Hall, Lisa Kahaleole Chang and J. Kehaulani Kauanui.

1996 Same-Sex Sexuality in Pacific Literature. In Asian American Sexualities: Dimensions of the Gay and Lesbian Experience. R. Leong, ed. Pp. 113-118. London and New York: Routledge.

Hall, Stuart

1990 Cultural Identity and Diaspora. In Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. J. Rutherford, ed. Pp. 222-237. London: Lawrence and Wishart.

Hanlon, David

1998 Remaking Micronesia: Discourses over Development in a Pacific Territory, 1944-1982. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Hau'ofa, Epeli

1983 Tales of the Tikongs. Auckland, N.Z.: Longman Paul.

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.

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.

Howard, Alan

1999 Rotuma on the World Wide Web. The Contemporary Pacific 11(1).

Iamo, Wari, and Jacob Simet

1998 Cultural Diversity and Identity in Papua New Guinea: A Second Look. In From Beijing to Port Moresby: The Politics of National Identity in Cultural Policies. V. Dominguez and D. Wu, eds. Pp. 189-204. Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach.

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.

Jolly, Margaret

1997 From Point Venus to Bali Ha'i: Eroticism and Exoticism in Representations of the Pacific. In Sites of Desire, Economies of Pleasure: Sexualities in Asia and the Pacific. L. Manderson and M. Jolly, eds. Pp. 99-122. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kauanui, J. Kehaulani

1998 Mapping the Native: Genealogical reterritorialization of land, identity, and sovereign belonging. Paper given at Association of Asian American Studies meeting, Honolulu, June 1998 .

1997 Images of Struggle / Imagining Nations: An Act of War for Off-Island Education on Hawaiian Sovereignty. Paper given at ASAO meetings, February 1997 .

Kelly, John

1995 Diaspora and World War, Blood and Nation in Fiji and Hawai'i. Public Culture 7(3):475-497.

Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara

1998 Destination Museum. In Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums and Heritage. Pp. 131-176. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lindstrom, Lamont

1998 Pasin Tumbuna: Culture and Nationalism in Papua New Guinea. In From Beijing to Port Moresby: The Politics of National Identity in Cultural Policies. V. Dominguez and D. Wu, eds. Pp. 141-188. Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach.

Mellon, Jim

1992 Images of Micronesia on Film and Video. In Pacific History: Papers from the 8th Pacific History Association Conference. D. Rubinstein, ed. Pp. 385-403. Mangilao: University of Guam Press.

Michaels, Eric

1994 Bad Aboriginal Art: Tradition, Media, and Technological Horizons. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Narakobi, Bernard

1983 There's No Need for Women's Lib Here... In The Melanesian Way. Pp. 34-38. Port Moresby: Inst. of Papua New Guinea Studies.

Nero, Karen

1992 The Breadfruit Story: Mythological Transformations in Palauan Politics. Pacific Studies 15(4):235-260.

Ogden, Michael

1999 Islands in an Information Age. The Contemporary Pacific 11(2).

Okamura, Jonathan

1998 The Illusion of Paradise: Privileging Multiculturalism in Hawai'i. In Making Majorities. D. Gladney, ed. Pp. 264-284. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant, eds.

1994 Racial Formation in the United States. New York: Routledge.

Populations, UN Working Group on Indigenous

1993 Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In From a Native Daughter. H.-K. Trask, ed. Pp. 279-288. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press.

Roe, David, et al.

1994 Working with Cultural Lanscapes in Melanesia: Problems and Approaches in Formulating Cultural Policies. In Culture, Kastom, Tradition: Cultural Policy in Melanesia. L. Lindstrom and G. White, eds. Pp. 115-129. Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies.

Small, Cathy A.

1997 Voyages: From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Stanley, Nick

1998 Being Ourselves for You: the global display of cultures. London: Middlesex University Press.

Teaiwa, Teresia

1994 Bikinis and other s/pacific n/oceans. The Contemporary Pacific 6:87-109.

Trask, Haunani-Kay

1993 From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai'i. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.

White, Geoffrey

1991 Village Videos and Custom Chiefs: The Politics of Tradition. Cultural Survival Quarterly 15(2):56-60.

Winslow, Donna

1991 Land and Independence in New Caledonia. Cultural Survival Quarterly 15(2):65-70.

Zimmer, Laura

1993 Nationalism and Sexuality in Papua New Guinea. Pacific Studies 16(4):61-97.

Upload: 03/19/1999

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