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Gender, colonialism and postcolonialism

History/Sociology 2/3 GCP - 1995

la trobe university

 

Instructors:

Dr Bronwen Douglas Dr Martha Macintyre
Division of Pacific & Asian History Sociology and Anthropology
RSPAS, Australian National University La Trobe University
Canberra ACT 0200 Bundoora, VIC 3083
Australia Australia
bronwen.douglas@anu.edu.au m.macintyre@latrobe.edu.au

 

In this subject, students explore textual and visual representations of Pacific Islanders and Aboriginal Australians, with particular focus on women and gender relations. Most of the representations studied were produced by male colonial Europeans and require rigorous critical reading to identify and deconstruct their ethnocentric, racist, colonialist and gendered presumptions. Particular attention is paid to the cultural, political and strategic contexts which they described and in which they were written and read. Theories of race, gender, representation, discourse analysis and postcolonial critique are considered for the light they throw on the texts consulted, and are themselves subject to critical scrutiny.

There are five main themes. In Semester 1: (1) ambivalent images of paradise (early European contacts with Tahiti and Australia; the myth of 'paradise lost'; invidious comparisons); (2) women, Christianity and colonialism. In Semester 2: (3) anthropological representations of Pacific women; (4) challenges to anthropological orthodoxies (especially feminist critiques); (5) representations and self-representations of women in the postcolonial Pacific (literary representations; "custom" and feminism).

 

reading guide - Semester 1

WEEK 1: introduction
Lecture: Introduction: imag(in)ing others.
Workshop: Introduction; name game; general discussion of ethnocentrism, racism and gendering in popular primitivist discourses.
Handout "Lured by the Lost Tribes", Age, 26 August 1989, "Saturday Extra", 17.

 

 

WEEK 2: a general problematic - primitivism, gender, reading
Lecture: Choosing appropriate words: cultural description as discourse.
Robert Borofsky and Alan Howard "The Early Contact Period", in Alan Howard and Robert Borofsky, Developments in Polynesian Ethnology (Honolulu 1989), 250-69.
Nicholas Thomas Entangled Objects: Exchange, Material Culture, and Colonialism in the Pacific (Cambridge, Mass. 1991).
Workshop: Reading about natives and women.
  - what does "primitivism" mean? What forms does it take and in what ways are they discourses rather than simply ideas or ideologies?
  - what strategies does Mani propose for a critical, subversive, against-the-grain reading of colonial (male) texts in order to recuperate "the possibility of a female subjectivity that is shifting, contradictory, inconsistent" (p. 397). What are their pros and cons? What are the politics of her representations - her discourse?
Core Reading:  
Lata Mani "Cultural Theory, Colonial Texts: Reading Eyewitness Accounts of Widow Burning", in Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson and Paula Treichler (ed.), Cultural Studies (New York 1991), 392-408.
Marianna Torgovnick Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives (Chicago 1990), 3-41 (see also Notes, pp. 249-60).
Recommended Reading:  
Edward Said "Representing the Colonized: Anthropology's Interlocutors", Critical Inquiry, 15 (1989):205-25.

 

 

weeks 3-8: theme I: ambivalent images of paradise

WEEK 3: exchanges, violence, "prostitution" and "possession" in Tahiti
Lecture: Tahiti and Europe in the 18th century.
Greg Dening Mr Bligh's Bad Language: Passion, Power and Theatre on the Bounty (Cambridge 1992).
Douglas L. Oliver Ancient Tahitian Society (Canberra 1974), 3 vols.
Film: Charles Chauvel's In the Wake of the Bounty (1933).
Workshop: Contemporary and later representations of first contacts in Tahiti: the politics of nomenclature.
  - what indications are there from Robertson's account of the first European visit to Tahiti that Tahitians and Europeans placed different meanings on what happened? Who "possessed" whom? Who exploited whom? Who depended on whom? Why does it matter to an historian?
  - compare and contrast the appropriateness in Tahitian terms of Pearson's discourse of political/economic reaction, compared with Dening's focus on Tahitian ritual actions.
Core Reading:  
George Robertson The Discovery of Tahiti: a Journal of the Second Voyage of H.M.S. Dolphin Round the World, under the Command of Captain Wallis, R.N., in the Years 1766, 1767 and 1768 Written by her Master George Robertson (ed. Hugh Carrington) (London 1948), 135-170.
Greg Dening "Possessing Tahiti", Archaeology in Oceania, 21 (1986):103-18.
W.H. Pearson "European Intimidation and the Myth of Tahiti", Journal of Pacific History, 4 (1969):199-217.

 

 

 

WEEK 4: Tahitian women in early European experience and fantasies
Lecture: Gender and subversion of dominant colonial discourses: reading ambivalence in Beatrice Grimshaw's In the Strange South Seas.
Workshop: Early European representations of women in Tahiti.
  - what were the relationships between empirical observations, ethnocentrism/racism, and gendering in Robertson's, Banks' and Cook's descriptions of Tahitian women? (See also visual representations from Cook's voyages in the Recommended Reading.)
  - what is the significance of the genre (= "kind") of text: contemporary or later?
  - do these eighteenth century images bear out Torgovnick's contention that "gender issues always inhabit Western versions of the primitive" (p. 17)?
Core Reading:  
Extracts from contemporary texts: (1) George Robertson, The Discovery of Tahiti: a Journal of the Second Voyage of H.M.S. Dolphin Round the World, under the Command of Captain Wallis, R.N., in the Years 1766, 1767 and 1768 Written by her Master George Robertson (ed. Hugh Carrington) (London 1948), 148, 154, 166-67, 177, 180, 184-85, 196-209, 215, 224-25 (June-July 1867);
  (2) Joseph Banks, The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768-1771 (ed. J.C. Beaglehole) (Sydney 1962), vol. I, 252-57, 266-67, 275-76, 292-93 (April-June 1769); vol. II, 330-34 (1773) - note the ambivalent (and mutually destabilising?) discourses of femininity in Banks' 1773 letter;
  (3) James Cook, The Voyage of the Endeavour 1768-1771 (ed. J.C. Beaglehole) (Cambridge 1968), 93-94 (May 1769), 123-29 (July 1769).
  (4) James Cook, The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure 1772-1775 (ed. J.C. Beaglehole) (Cambridge 1969), 231-32, 238-39 (September 1773).
Marianna Torgovnick Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives (Chicago 1990), 42-72.
Recommended Reading:  
Bernard Smith European Vision and the South Pacific (New York 1985; Melbourne 1989), chs 1-3.
Rüdiger Joppien and Bernard Smith The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages (Melbourne 1985), vol. 1, The Voyage of the Endeavour 1768-1771, 20-23, 112-14; vol. 2, The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure 1772-1775, 40-46, 58-65.
Harriet Guest "The Great Distinction: Figures of the Exotic in the Work of William Hodges", Oxford Art Journal, 12 (1989):36-58.

 

WEEK 5: Polynesian women in Western discourses
Lecture: Politics and poetics of ethnographic representations of women's actions and status in Polynesia.
Workshop: Discourses of gender, rank and sacredness in Polynesia.
  - what do we know about gender relations, the meanings of tapu:noa and the power of high-ranking women in indigenous Polynesian societies? How?
  - how adequate are the concepts used in the texts, especially "pollution"?
  - consider the politics of the representation of gender in terms of (a) Polynesian discourses of rank and hierarchy; (b) European/Christian ethnocentrism and androcentrism; (c) anti- and postcolonialism; (d) feminism.
Core Reading:  
  Leviticus, 12, 15, Holy Bible (Authorised version, London 1839); Good News Bible (London 1983).
F. Allan Hanson "Female Pollution in Polynesia?", Journal of the Polynesian Society, 91 (1982):335-81.
Caroline Ralston "Introduction", in Caroline Ralston and Nicholas Thomas (ed.), Sanctity and Power: Gender in Polynesian History. Special issue, Journal of Pacific History, 22 (1987):115-22.
Nicholas Thomas "Domestic Structures and Polyandry in the Marquesas Islands", in Margaret Jolly and Martha Macintyre (ed.), Family and Gender in the Pacific: Domestic Contradictions and the Colonial Impact (Cambridge 1989), 65-83.

 

 

WEEK 6: domesticating the exotic, change as indigenisation
Lecture: Imperial projects and the politics of agency and change.
Workshop: Gender relations and transformations of Hawaiian society.
  - in what ways might women's lives and social relationships have changed in early postcontact Hawaii? How can we know?
  - how useful is Sahlins' theory of the reproduction of cultural categories and their transformation in novel action contexts, given Ralston's history of early postcontact Hawaii and Thomas' critique? How does each author conceive the contribution of women to transforming Hawaiian society?
Core Reading:  
Caroline Ralston "Changes in the lives of ordinary women in early post-contact Hawaii", in Margaret Jolly and Martha Macintyre (ed.), Family and Gender in the Pacific: Domestic Contradictions and the Colonial Impact (Cambridge 1989), 45-64.
Marshall Sahlins Historical Metaphors and Mythical Realities: Structure in the Early History of the Sandwich Islands Kingdom (Ann Arbor 1981), esp. ch. 3.
Nicholas Thomas Out of Time: History and Evolution in Anthropological Discourse (Cambridge 1989), 102-16.

 

 

WEEK 7: stereotypes of Tahiti: passive victims out of time
Lecture: Noble savages and fatal impacts.
Alan Moorehead The Fatal Impact: an Account of the Invasion of the South Pacific 1767-1840 (London 1966).
Bernard Smith European Vision and the South Pacific (New York 1985; Melbourne 1989), chs 1-5, 7, 11.
Video: A Place of Power in French Polynesia (1984).
Workshop: "Paradise Lost"? Tahitian women in Western literature and art:
  - what images of Tahitian women did Gauguin convey in (a) his autobiographical novel; (b) his art? Why?
  - consider the significance of Gauguin's work in terms of Western discourses of art, the primitive and gender as discussed by Torgovnick and Solomon-Godeau. What are the advantages and ethnographic/conceptual limitations of their critiques?
  - "Western idealization of the primitive has been as damaging as any other Western version and often conceals more pejorative views" (Torgovnick, p. 122). What does she mean? In what ways are idealisation of the primitive and civilised nostalgia for a lost primitive paradise (the "noble savage"; the "fatal impact"; the "romantic/tragic savage") as demeaning as more negative forms of racism? Compare the tendency of modern Islands and Aboriginal nationalists to romanticise the precontact past.
Core Reading:  
Paul Gauguin Noa Noa (tr. O.F. Theis; introduction Alfred Werner) (New York 1957), vi-xiii, 12-93.
759.4

G268

There are numerous art books in the Library stacks under this G268 call number which reproduce examples of Gauguin's Tahitian paintings, drawings and sculptures.
Abigail Solomon-Godeau "Going Native", Art in America, July 1989:118-28, 161.
Marianna Torgovnick Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives (Chicago 1990), 85-104.

 

 

WEEK 8: Polynesia and "Melanesia" in Western discourses
Lecture: From the sublime to the grotesque: Polynesians and "Melanesians" in eighteenth and nineteenth century European discourses.
Bronwen Douglas "Pre-European Societies in the Pacific Islands", in Max Quanchi and Ron Adams (ed.), Culture Contact in the Pacific: Essays on Contact, Encounter and Response (Cambridge 1993), 15-30.
Bernard Smith European Vision and the South Pacific (New York 1985; Melbourne 1989).
Nicholas Thomas "The Force of Ethnology: Origins and Significance of the Melanesia/Polynesia Division", Current Anthropology, 30 (1989):27-34.
Workshop: comparaing European images of Polynesians and "Melanesians," especially women:
  - what were the varied, changing, and at times ambivalent, criteria of description and classification of Pacific Islanders used in these texts? Note changing meanings of the terms "race", "nation", "tribe", "variety", and the increase in emphasis on collective, rather than internal differentiation.
  - compare and contrast the casual ethnocentrism of late eighteenth century scientific empiricism (Cook/Forster) with the a priori racism of nineteenth and twentieth century evolutionism (d'Urville/Grimshaw). In what ways did contemporary discourses help shape European images of Islanders? Critically consider Jolly's or Thomas' critique.
Core Reading:  
James Cook The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure 1772-1775 (ed. J.C. Beaglehole) (Cambridge 1969), 460-67 [Malakula], 480 [Erromango], 503-8 [Tanna], 539-41 [Balade, New Caledonia].
Jules S.-C. Dumont d'Urville "Sur les îles du Grand Océan", Bulletin de Société de Géographie, 105 (1832):3-21 (TS extracts, tr. B. Douglas).
Jules S.-C. Dumont d'Urville An Account in Two Volumes of Two Voyages to the South Seas by Captain ... Jules S.-C. Dumont d'Urville of the French Navy ..., tr. and ed. Helen Rosenman, vol. 1, Astrolabe 1826-1829 (Melbourne 1987) (TS extracts).
John Reinold Forster Observations Made during a Voyage Round the World, on Physical Geography, Natural History, and Ethic Philosophy, ed. Nicholas Thomas, Harriet Guest and Michael Dettelbach (Honolulu at press), 169-79, 286-96 (TS).
Beatrice Grimshaw From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands (London [1907]), 14-15, 134-35, 138-39 [eastern cf. western Pacific], 165-66, 190-91 [Malakula], 206-8 [Tanna].
Margaret Jolly "'Illnatured comparisons': Racism and Relativism in European Representations of Ni-Vanuatu from Cook's Second Voyage", History and Anthropology, 5 (1992):331-64.
Recommended Reading:  
Rüdiger Joppien and Bernard Smith The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages, vol. 2, The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure 1772-1775 (Melbourne 1985), esp. 86-101 - compare Hodges' depictions of Maori with those of other Polynesians, and the several versions of images of people encountered at Malakula, Erromango and Tanna (New Hebrides [Vanuatu]) and in New Caledonia.

 

 

WEEKS 9-13: THEME II: WOMEN, CHRISTIANITY and colonialism

WEEK 9: European female images of Islanders
Lecture: Understanding social, cultural and historical contexts and gender in Aneityum, Vanuatu.
Bronwen Douglas "Autonomous and Controlled Spirits: Traditional Ritual and Early Interpretations of Christianity on Tanna, Aneityum and the Isle of Pines in Comparative Perspective", Journal of the Polynesian Society, 98 (1989):7-48.
Workshop: Charlotte Geddie on Aneityumese women and men; Beatrice Grimshaw on Fijians and ni-Vanuatu.
  - what were Charlotte Geddie's impressions of Aneityumese women and men? How did her impressions of each differ? Why?
  - what were her (and her daughter's) conceptions of her role, experiences and relationships with Islanders?
  - what were the main tropes and discourses in Charlotte Geddie's text? In what ways were they similar to/different from those of other categories of European encountered so far and from those of the early twentieth century travel writer Beatrice Grimshaw?
Core Reading:  
Charlotte Geddie Letters of Charlotte Geddie and Charlotte Geddie Harrington (Truro 1908), 9-10, 14-50.
Beatrice Grimshaw From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands (London [1907]), 42-47, 112-15 [Fiji], 174-79, 187-90 [Malakula].
Recommended Reading:  
John Inglis In the New Hebrides: Reminiscences of Missionary Life and Work, Especially on the Island of Aneityum, from 1850 till 1877 (London 1887), 261-94.

 

 

WEEK 10: male and femal European representations of women compared
Lecture: Race, gender, conversion and context in evangelical missionary discourses.
Catherine Hall "Missionary Stories: Gender and Ethnicity in England in the 1830s and 1840s", in Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson and Paula A. Treichler (ed.), Cultural Studies (New York 1991), 240-76.
Nicholas Thomas "Colonial Conversions: Difference, Hierarchy, and History in Early Twentieth-Century Evangelical Propaganda", Comparative Studies in Society and History, 4 (1992): 366-89.
Video: The Transformed Isle (c. 1907-17).
Workshop: Male and female European discourses on Aneityumese women.
  - compare and contrast Charlotte Geddie's images of Aneityumese women with those of John Geddie, John Inglis and the anonymous seaman.
  - what can we know from contemporary texts about Aneityumese women's experiences of indigenous and European male behaviour, their understandings of Christianity and their significance in the Christianisation of Aneityum? How?
  - compare and contrast the different genres of text and interpretation, focussing on the construction of discourses about widow strangling.
Core Reading:  
Anon. "History of the Paciffic", n.d., 9-15 (TS extract).
Charlotte Geddie Letters of Charlotte Geddie and Charlotte Geddie Harrington (Truro 1908), 9-10, 14-50.
John Geddie Misi Gete: John Geddie, Pioneer Missionary to the New Hebrides (ed. R.S. Miller) (Launceston 1975), extracts.
John Geddie "The Inhabitants of Aneityum", Missionary Register, 3 (1852):19-21 (TS).
John Inglis In the New Hebrides: Reminiscences of Missionary Life and Work, Especially on the Island of Aneityum, from 1850 till 1877 (London 1887), 29-32, 80-81.
John Inglis Bible Illustrations from the New Hebrides With Notices of the Progress of the Mission (London 1890), 33-35, 162-75, 287-90.
Margaret Jolly "'To Save the Girls for Brighter and Better Lives': Presbyterian Missions and Women in the South of Vanuatu: 1848-1870", Journal of Pacific History, 26 (1991):27-48.

 

 

WEEK 11: European female missionaries
Lecture: Missionary wives in Hawaii (Prof. Pat Grimshaw, History, Melbourne University).
Workshop: Comparative perspectives on missionary women.
  - compare and contrast the varying roles attributed to nineteenth century European missionary women in Hawaii, Aneityum and Papua New Guinea, with particular attention to time, place, denomination, and correlation with contemporary discourses of femininity and domesticity. How significant were women in missionary enterprises?
  - how were missionary women constructed by male missionaries? by each other? by feminist historians?
Core Reading:  
Minnie Billing Sister Minnie's (Billing) Life and Work in Papua (Sydney 1930), 23-94.
John Inglis In the New Hebrides. Reminiscences of Missionary Life and Work, Especially on the Island of Aneityum, from 1850 till 1877 (London 1887), 261-94.
Patricia Grimshaw "New England Missionary Wives, Hawaiian Women and 'The Cult of True Womanhood'", in Margaret Jolly and Martha Macintyre (ed.), Family and Gender in the Pacific: Domestic Contradictions and the Colonial Impact (Cambridge 1989), 19-44.
Diane Langmore Missionary Lives: Papua, 1884-1914 (Honolulu 1989), 65-88, 163-84.
Alternative Reading:  
Patricia Grimshaw Paths of Duty: American Missionary Wives in Nineteenth-Century Hawaii (Honolulu 1989), esp. chs 4-7.
Diane Langmore "The Object Lesson of a Civilised, Christian Home", in Margaret Jolly and Martha Macintyre (ed.), Family and Gender in the Pacific: Domestic Contradictions and the Colonial Impact (Cambridge 1989), 84-94.
D. Langmore "A Neglected Force: White Women Missionaries in Papua 1874-1914", Journal of Pacific History, 17 (1982):138-57.

 

 

WEEK 12: white women and colonialism
Lecture: To be announced (Dr Klaus Neumann, History, Melbourne University).
Workshop: Images of colonial white women.
  - what images do these texts present of white women, their attitudes, actions, relationships and significance in Pacific colonial contexts? Identify the agenda of each author.
  - what are the discourses and politics of representation involved? What do they imply for the study of intersections of gender, race and class?
Core Reading:  
John Young "Evanescent Ascendancy: the Planter Community in Fiji", in J.W. Davidson and Deryck Scarr (ed.), Pacific Islands Portraits (Canberra 1970), 147-66.
Claudia Knapman White Women in Fiji 1835-1930: the Ruin of Empire?... (Sydney 1986), 1-18, 136-60.
Pat Grimshaw "Gender, Race and American Frontiers: the Hawaiian Case", Australasian Journal of American Studies, 7:1 (July 1988), 32-39.
Margaret Jolly "Colonizing Women: the Maternal Body and Empire", in Sneja Gunew and Anna Yeatman (ed.), Feminism and the Politics of Difference (St Leonards, NSW 1993), 103-27.
Recommended Reading:  
Beatrice Grimshaw Isles of Adventure: From Java to New Caledonia but Principally Papua (Boston 1931), 1-26.

 

 

WEEK 13: women and Christianity
Lecture: Modern Islanders' stories about missionaries and their impact on family life, daily lives and sexuality: a Tubetube case study, Milne Bay Province, PNG.
Workshop: Women and Christianity in the Pacific.
  - what were/are the attractions and meanings of Christianity to Massim and Solomon Islands women? In what ways does "conversion" mean loss of indigenous culture, or indigenising Christianity?
  - compare and contrast male and female, traditionalist and Christian, Europeans' and Islanders' positions in the texts consulted.
  - in what ways were Keesing's and Young's questions and interpretations shaped by their own liberal, agnostic, anthropological discourses and the particular indigenous discourses they favoured?
Core Reading:  
Alice Wedega Listen, My Country (Sydney 1981), vii-viii, 11-29.

Nuis Blong Mere (newsletter of the Solomon Islands National Council of Women), 2 July, 3 October 1984, 5 May 1985.

Roger M. Keesing "Sins of a Mission: Christian Life as Kwaio Traditionalist Ideology", in Margaret Jolly and Martha Macintyre (ed.), Family and Gender in the Pacific: Domestic Contradictions and the Colonial Impact (Cambridge 1989), 193-212.
Michael W. Young "Suffer the Children: Wesleyans in the D'Entrecasteaux", in Margaret Jolly and Martha Macintyre (ed.), Family and Gender in the Pacific: Domestic Contradictions and the Colonial Impact (Cambridge 1989), 108-34.
Recommended Reading:  
Caroline Ralston "Pacific Island Women in the Context of Pacific Cultures, Christian Theologies and Modernisation", South Pacific Journal of Mission Studies, 1 (1990):4-6.
Iva Fischer "Forward to the Past: Pacific Women Transforming Westernised Cultures", South Pacific Journal of Mission Studies, 1 (1990):7 (comment on Ralston).

 

 

Semester 2

WEEKS 1-6: THEME I: anthropological representations of pacific women

WEEK 1: introduction
Lecture: Anthropology, colonialism and the establishment of an academic discipline.
Video: H.A. Powell's The Trobriand Islanders (1986 [1951]) - excerpts.
Workshop: Women as objects of study in missionary and early colonial ethnography.
  - what images of Melanesian and Samoan women did George Brown sketch in his ethnology? What words and discourse did he use to construct them? Where did his information come from? Compare Brown's representations of women with Geddie's and Seligmann's.
  - what were the intellectual aims of Seligmann's expedition to British New Guinea? Who were the informants/authoritative persons for the information recorded? Whose discourse was it?
Core Reading:  
George Brown Melanesians and Polynesians: their Life-Histories Described and Compared (London 1910), v-vii, 31-49 [George Brown, missionary in Samoa, founder of the Methodist mission in Papua New Guinea, also wrote an autobiographical account of his missionary activities; in it he referred to particular incidents, particular male Islanders, but almost never to women; he was a valued correspondent of the anthropologists Tylor and Frazer].
C.G. Seligmann The Melanesians of British New Guinea (New York 1976 [reprint, Cambridge 1910]), v-x, 478-512, 565-73, 708-14.

 

 

WEEK 2: Malinowski, the Trobriands and women
Lecture: Malinowski and the invention of fieldwork.
Video: The Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea (1990).
Workshop: Malinowski and women: as ethnographer and man.
  - how did Malinowski establish/assert his authority? In what ways was his study "scientific"? primitivist?
  - how did Malinowski justify his focus on sexuality? What are the problems with his project and his gaze?
  - what was the significance of women in his ethnography? Why?
  - what relationships between Malinowski as scientist and man were suggested in Sexual Life compared with the diary? Why?
Introductory Reading (essential for non-Anthropology students, but skim the case studies):  
Roger M. Keesing Cultural Anthropology: a Contemporary Perspective (New York 1981), 212-50.
Core Reading:  
Bronislaw Malinowski The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia (3rd edition, London 1932 [1929]), Preface (by Havelock Ellis), Special Foreword to the Third Edition, Foreword to the First Edition,vii-xii, xix-xxv, xlv-l.
Bronislaw Malinowski The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia (3rd edition, London 1932 [1929]), 1-23 (ch. 1), 237-55, 278-89 (ch. 10, parts 1-3, 11-12) .
Bronislaw Malinowski A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term (London 1967), 104-134 (28 Oct. 1917-27 Nov. 1917), 156-70 (19-31 Dec. 1917), 255-61 (19-24 Apr. 1918).
Marianna Torgovnick Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives (Chicago 1990), 3-11, 227-35.

 

 

WEEK 3: Margaret Mead, American anthropologist
Lecture: Pacific women as mothers, sisters, wives (Dr Helen Kavapalu, Melbourne University).
Workshop: Margaret Mead's work on Sex and Temperament: whose project?
  - what did Mead mean by "culture"? Why?
  - how did she establish her own authority as an ethnographer?
  - was her representation of women essentialist? In what ways? Why?
Core Reading:  
Margaret Mead Coming of Age in Samoa: a Study of Adolescence and Sex in Primitive Societies (various editions, Penguin 1943 [1928]), ch. 1 (pp. 9-18), ch. 7 (pp. 74-91), Appendices 2, 3, 5 (pp. 206-19, 223-33).
Margaret Mead Male and Female: a Study of the Sexes in a Changing World (New York 1975), 3-47 (part 1, chs 1-2).
G.W. Stocking "The Ethnographic Sensibility of the 1920s and the Dualism of

the Anthropological Tradition", in G.W. Stocking (ed.), Romantic Motives: Essays on Anthropological Sensibility (Madison, Wisconsin 1989), 208-76, esp. pp. 208-20, 235-69.

 

WEEK 4: the anthropological debate about Margaret Mead
Lecture: Women ethnographers.
Video: Margaret Mead and Samoa (1988).
Workshop: the Mead/Freeman controversy: nature/nurture and male/female oppositions.
  - what were Derek Freeman's major criticisms of Mead's interpretation of Samoan culture and Samoan female sexuality? Why?
  - what were the major responses to Freeman? Why so much passion?
  - was the controversy mainly about Samoa?
Core Reading:  
Derek Freeman Margaret Mead and Samoa: the Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth (Canberra 1983), 82-94, 226-53, 281-93.
Marilyn Strathern "The Punishing of Margaret Mead", in Gregory Acciaioli (ed.), Fact and Context in Ethnography: the Samoa Controversy, special issue Canberra Anthropology, 6: 1 (1983), 70-79.
Annette B. Weiner "Ethnographic Determinism: Samoa and the Margaret Mead Controversy", American Anthropologist, 85 (1983), 909-19.
*Albert Wendt "Three Faces of Samoa: Mead's, Freeman's and Wendt's", Pacific Islands Monthly, April 1983, 10-14, 69.
Recommended Reading:  
Lowell D. Holmes "On the Questioning of as Many as Six Impossible Things about Freeman"s Samoa Before Breakfast", in Gregory Acciaioli (ed.), Fact and Context in Ethnography: the Samoa Controversy, special issue Canberra Anthropology, 6: 1 (1983), 1-16.

 

WEEK 5: women in PNG Highlands anthropology
Lecture: Anthropology and the conceptualisation of equality and hierarchy in Melanesia.
Video? Nancy Archibald's The Mendi (1974)
Workshop: Women in Papua New Guinea Highlands anthropology: reading images of Mendi women and the "sexual antagonism" literature.
  - compare and contrast the representations of female-male relations and the status of Mendi women by Ryan, Lederman and in the video, with particular attention to gender, discourse and chronology.
  - whose construction was "sexual antagonism"? Why? What did the concept, or its equivalent, signify in Meggitt's classification of Highlands societies? How, if at all, was it applied/applicable to the Mendi?
Core Reading (see MAP in handbook):  
  The Mendi (video).
Rena Lederman "Who Speaks Here? Formality and the Politics of Gender in Mendi, Highland Papua New Guinea", Journal of the Polynesian Society, 89 (1980), 479-98.
M.J. Meggitt "Male-Female Relationships in the Highlands of Australian New Guinea", in Thomas G. Harding and Ben J. Wallace, Cultures of the Pacific: Selected Readings (New York 1970), 125-43, 438-41 [first published 1964].
D'A. Ryan "Marriage in Mendi", in R.M. Glasse and M.J. Meggitt (ed.), Pigs, Pearlshells, and Women: Marriage in the New Guinea Highlands (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 1969), 159-75.
Recommended Reading:  
Gilbert H. Herdt and Fitz John P. Poole "'Sexual Antagonism': the Intellectual History of a Concept in New Guinea Anthropology", in Fitz John P. Poole and Gilbert H. Herdt, Sexual Antagonism, Gender, and Social Change in Papua New Guinea, special issue Social Analysis, 12 (1982), 3-28.

 

WEEK 6: women as objects, subjects, persons
Lecture: The problem of bias, female ethnography and changes in perspectives on Highlands ethnography.
Workshop: Female agency and gender in Melanesian anthropology.
  - what similarities and differences in interpretation and experience of female-male relations and the status of indigenous women are there in this week's readings compared with last? Why? In what ways are the differences theoretical, cultural, historical, political, gendered?
  - what are female agency and subjectivity? How can they be identified? Do they matter? Why were they not an issue in earlier ethnographies?
Core Reading:  
Lisette Josephides "Equal but Different? The Ontology of Gender Among Kewa", Oceania, 53 (1983), 291-307.
Roger M. Keesing "Ta'a geni: Women's Perspectives on Kwaio Society", in Marilyn Strathern (ed.), Dealing with Inequality: Analysing Gender Relations in Melanesia and Beyond (Cambridge 1987), 33-62.
Henrietta L. Moore A Passion for Difference: Essays in Anthropology and Gender, (Cambridge 1994), 49-70.
Recommended Reading:  
Kalpana Ram "Too 'Traditional' Once Again: some Poststructuralists on the Aspirations of the Immigrant/Third World Female Subject", Australian Feminist Studies, 17 (1993), 5-28.

 

 

WEEKS 7-10: THEME II: CHALLENGES TO ANTHROPOLOGICAL ORTHODOXIES

WEEK 7: feminist anthropology
Lecture: Feminist anthropology.
Workshop: Feminism and the essential woman.
  - why has the issue of female status been of such absorbing interest to anthropology (and anthropology so interesting to feminism)?
  - compare and contrast Macintyre's and Weiner's representations of the power of different Massim women? Were their arguments ethnocentric? essentialist? (cf. Malinowski)?
Core Reading:  
Martha Macintyre "Flying Witches and Leaping Warriors: Supernatural Origins of Power and Matrilineal Authority in Tubetube Society", in Marilyn Strathern (ed.), Dealing with Inequality: Analysing Gender Relations in Melanesia and Beyond (Cambridge 1987), 207-28.
Henrietta L. Moore Feminism and Anthropology (Oxford 1988), 1-41 (including footnotes).
Annette B. Weiner The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea (New York 1988), 1-15, 111-38.
Recommended Reading:  
Margaret Jolly "Banana Leaf Bundles and Skirts: a Pacific Penelope's Web", in James G. Carrier (ed.), History and Tradition in Melanesian Anthropology (Berkeley 1992), 38-63.
Caroline Ralston "The Study of Women in the Pacific", Contemporary Pacific, 4 (1992), 162-75.

 

 

WEEK 8: anthropology and feminism
Lecture: Anticolonial and postcolonial critiques of anthropology: some keywords.
Video: Anthropology on Trial (1983).
Workshop: Feminist critiques of anthropology: how feminist? how anthropological?
  - what issues have feminists seen as central to their theoretical and substantive interests? What are the differences between an anthropology of women, feminist anthropology and anthropology of gender?
  - what are the varying meanings of difference (cultural, gender, racial and class) to feminists and feminist anthropologists? How have intersections between different differences over time been conceived? Compare Macintyre's argument for a focus on commonalities.
Core Reading:  
Micaela di Leonardo "Introduction: Gender, Culture and Political Economy: Feminist Anthropology in Historical Perspective", in Micaela di Leonardo (ed.),Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge? Feminist Anthropology in the Postmodern Era (Berkeley 1991), 1-48.
Martha Macintyre "Fictive Kinship or Mistaken Identity? Fieldwork on Tubetube Island, Papua New Guinea", in Diane Bell, Pat Caplan and Wazir Jahan Karim (ed.), Gendered Fields: Women, Men and Ethnography (London 1993), 44-62.
Henrietta L. Moore Feminism and Anthropology (Oxford 1988), 186-98

.

Henrietta L. Moore A Passion for Difference: Essays in Anthropology and Gender (Cambridge 1994), 8-27.
Recommended Reading:  
Frances E. Mascia-Lees, et al "The Postmodernist Turn in Anthropology: Cautions from a Feminist Perspective", Signs, 15 (1989), 7-33.

 

 

WEEK 9: "invention" of culture and the limits of liberal humanist discourse
Lecture: Critique of male postmodernist critiques of anthropology.
Workshop: Constructing culture: universal values, authority and the Guam abortion debate.
  - try to disentangle the various discourses and claims to authority in the contest over the anti-abortion bill in Guam.
  - how were the tropes of culture, identity, Catholic, self-determination, female agency, rights, citizen and liberty variously deployed in the actual debate and in the texts?
  - consider the politics and moralities of tension between (ethnocentric?) humanism and (nihilistic?) cultural relativism.
  - whose culture? When and for what? Is "authenticity" an issue? For whom?
Core Reading:  
Vicente Diaz "Pious Sites: Chamorro Culture at the Crossroads of Spanish Catholicism and American Liberalism", in Amy Kaplan and Donald Pease (ed.), Cultures of United States Imperialism (Raleigh 1993), 312-339.
David North "The Right of the Unborn", Pacific Islands Monthly, May 1990, 23-24.
Donald H. Rubinstein "Culture in Court: Notes and Reflections on Abortion in Guam", Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 94 (1992), 35-44, esp. 35-7 and conclusion.
Jocelyn Linnekin "On the Theory and Politics of Cultural Construction in the Pacific", Oceania, 62 (1992), 249-63, esp. pp. 249-54.
Recommended Reading:  
Margaret Jolly "Specters of Inauthenticity", Contemporary Pacific, 4 (1992), 49-72.

 

 

 

WEEKS 10-13: THEME III: women in the "postcolonial" pacific: literary representations, "custom" and feminism

WEEK 10: women in modern male Pacific literature
Lecture: Women and modernisation.
Video: Video: Cowboy and Maria in Town (1991).
Workshop: Male representations of women in modern Pacific literature.
  - how were women variously represented by these male Papua New Guinean and (New Zealand educated) Samoan authors? How did they treat sexual and gender relations in the context of tensions between custom and modernity?
  - in what ways do these fictional representations contradict/confirm ethnographic representations of female-male relations in Papua New Guinea and Samoa?
Core Reading:  
*Toby Waim Kagl Extract from Kallan, in Ganga Powell (comp.), Through Melanesian Eyes: an Anthology of Papua New Guinean Writing (South Melbourne 1987), 35-44 [set in Simbu, PNG Highlands].
*Jim Baital Tali, in Mike Greicus (ed.), Three Short Novels from Papua New Guinea (Auckland 1976), 87-140 [the novel moved between a village setting in the Siassi Islands and Port Moresby and Rabaul].
*Albert Wendt "A Talent", in The Birth and Death of the Miracle Man: a Collection of Short Stories (Harmondsworth 1987), 11-30 [the story moved between village and urban settings in Samoa].

 

 

WEEK 11: modern Pacific women's fiction
Lecture: Pacific women's voices: women's organisations, women's writings.
Workshop: Modern women's fictional writings in the Pacific.
  - compare and contrast the themes and discourses of the Maori short stories by Patricia Grace and Keri Hulme (indigenous writers in a modern Western nation), Samoan Apelu Aiavao's short story (a writer - gender unclear to me - in an independent, postcolonial nation), and the extract from Vilsoni Hereniko's recent postmodernist play, based on Teresia Teaiwa's story (Hereniko is a male Polynesian playwright; Teaiwa a female Afro-American/Micronesian postgraduate student at the University of California, who has mostly lived in Fiji).
  - how are these texts different from/similar to the male fictional writings read last week, in terms of themes and representations of women, gender relations and custom/ modernity? Why?
  - were these distinctively women's voices?
Core Reading:  
Apelu Aiavoa "The Married Couple", Mana: a South Pacific Journal of Language and Literature, 3 (1979), 2-12.
Patricia Grace "A Way of Talking", in Witi Ihimaera and D.S. Long (ed.), Into the World of Light: an Anthology of Maori Writing (Auckland 1982), 198-202.
Vilsoni Hereniko and Teresia Teaiwa "Last Virgin in Paradise: a Serious Comedy", Scene III, Manoa: a Pacific Journal of International Writing, 5 (1993), 193-203.
Keri Hulme "While My Guitar Gently Sings", in Te Kaihau = the Windeater (St Lucia 1986), 91-117.

 

 

WEEK 12: Melanesian women, "custom", development and domestic violence
Lecture: The domestic violence debate.
Workshop: Women's movements, "custom", "development", and domestic violence in postcolonial Melanesia.
  - what relationships were there between "custom" (inherited or constructed? essential or innovating?) and "development" in Sexton's representation of the wok meri movement? Compare the status and agency attributed to these Eastern Highlands women with the Enga women's self-accounts in Kyakas and Weissner.
  - what varied and ambivalent attitudes towards "custom", "development", domesticity, violence were suggested in the modern Melanesian women's writings sampled in the handbook? What were the important issues for these educated women compared with the PNG Highlands village women described by Sexton and Kyakas and Weissner? Why?
Core Reading:  
Lorraine Dusak Sexton "Wok Meri: a Women's Savings and Exchange System in Highland Papua New Guinea", Oceania, 52 (1982), 167-98.
Alome Kyakas and Polly Wiessner From Inside the Women's House: Enga Women's Lives and Traditions (Buranda, Qld. 1992), 82-91, 118-35, 175-81.
Melanesian Women's Writings (in publication order):  
Jully Sipolo "A Man's World" and "Civilized Girl", in Civilized Girl: Poems by Jully Sipolo (Suva 1981), 10, 21.
Afu Billy "Against my Will", in Afu Billy, Hazel Lulei and Jully Sipolo (ed.), Mi Mere: Poetry and Prose by Solomon Islands Women Writers (Honiara 1983), 17-19.
Anon. "A Woman's Lament", in Afu Billy, Hazel Lulei and Jully Sipolo (ed.), Mi Mere: Poetry and Prose by Solomon Islands Women Writers (Honiara 1983), 98-9.
Grace Mera Molisa "Black Stone", "Traditional Leaders", "Custom", and "Vatu Invocation", in Black Stone: Poems by Grace Mera Molisa (Suva 1983), 8-11, 24-5, 66-8.
Jully Sipolo "Wife Bashing", "Urban Life", in Praying Parents: a Second Collection of Poems by Jully Sipolo (Honiara 1986), 12-13, 31-2.
Grace Mera Molisa "Colonised People", in Colonised People: Poems by Grace Mera Molisa (Port Vila 1987), 9-13.

Nuis Blong Mere (newsletter of the Solomon Islands National Council of Women), 2 July, 3 October 1984, 5 May 1985.

Recommended Reading:  
Colin Filer "What is this Thing Called 'Brideprice'?", Mankind, 15 (1985), 163-83.
M.J. Meggitt "Women in Contemporary Central Enga Society, Papua New Guinea", in Margaret Jolly and Martha Macintyre (ed.), Family and Gender in the Pacific: Domestic Contradictions and the Colonial Impact (Cambridge 1989), 135-55.

 

 

WEEK 13: Melanesian women, nationalism and feminism
Discussion: History, anthropology and the study of gender in the Pacific.
Video: The Fantastic Invasion.
Workshop: Ni-Vanuatu women's changing encounters with race, nationalism, gender, feminisms, and humanisms.
  - what indications are there in these texts of changes since independence in 1980 in the things that mattered to ni-Vanuatu women: from anticolonialist nationalism to a more dfferentiated critique of all kinds of oppression, in terms of gender and class, as well as race.
  - in what ways might this transformation involve strategic appropriation and indigenisation in local struggles of feminist and human rights discourses, which had previously been rejected on nationalist and cultural grounds?
Core Reading:  
Margaret Jolly "The Politics of Difference: Feminism, Colonialism and Decolonisation in Vanuatu", in Gill Bottomley, Marie de Lepervanche and Jeannie Martin, Intersexions: Gender/Class/Culture/Ethnicity (Sydney 1991), 52-74.
Nicholas Rothwell "Grace Melds Poetry and Politics", Australian, 10 Dec. 1987.
Melanesian Women's Writings (in publication order):  
Hilda Lini "New Hebrides: Where Are Women At?", Refractory Girl, 12 (1976), 20-3.
Grace Mera Molisa "Victim of Foreign Abuse", "Other People", in Black Stone: Poems by Grace Mera Molisa (Suva 1983), 12-13, 38-9.
Grace Mera Molisa "Introduction", "Integration of Women", "Vanuatu", in Colonised People: Poems by Grace Mera Molisa (Port Vila 1987), 7-8, 14-15, 23.
Grace Mera Molisa "Delightful Acquiescence", "Village Women", "Women", "Men", in Black Stone II: Poems by Grace Mera Molisa (Port Vila 1989), 24, 29, 32-3.
Vanuatu Nasonal Kaonsel Blong Ol Woman Who Will Carry the Bag? (Port Vila 1990), 18, 23, 30, 40, 44, 46, 53.
Grace Mera Molisa "Blackstone Milestone" and "The World: Vanuatu Presentation to the Women Empowering Communications Conference," Bangkok 1994, in Local/Global: Indigenous Arts, Communications, Networking (Port Vila 1994), 11-13, 26.
Recommended Reading:  
Diane Johnson "Gender and Ideology: Women in the Papua New Guinea Bureaucracy", Refractory Girl, 27 (1984), 34-7.

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