Syllabi & Bibliographies

Internet Resources

Literatures and Cultures of the Pacific Islands

Women's Studies 407/507, Spring 2001

University of Oregon



Professor Judith Raiskin

321 Hendricks Hall; 346-2566

Office Hours: Mon 10:30-12:30 and by appt.



This is an interdisciplinary course that focuses on the Pacific as a region of tremendous cultural diversity and creativity. The course will be organized thematically with an attention to both the commonalities and specificities of literature and other art forms from different Pacific Island countries. The course will begin with the geography and politics of the region and with the history of European and U.S. colonialism and missionization. After examining the "orientalist" images of the Pacific that still have a great deal of currency, the rest of the class focuses on the writing and cultural expression of Pacific Islanders and the political movements of indigenous peoples. The themes we will focus on are: development, tourism, U.S. militarism, education and language, cultural revival and resistance, sovereignty movements, and contemporary migration and diaspora. Our goal in this class is not to "solve" the problems we will read

about, but to think together about the many relationships between culture, identity, and politics.  Ideally, the readings and films will inspire broad discussion from a variety of perspectives. While not all the authors on the reading list are "indigenous," most identify as writers from the Pacific and all attend to issues of cultural production and identity. This course has received generous funding from the University of Oregon Humanities Center and the Robert F. and Evelyn Nelson Wulf Professorship for courses that respond critically to ethical issues that confront individuals and society.


Required Readings:

Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Blu's Hanging (1997)

Sia Figiel, where we once belonged (1996)

Epeli Hau'ofa, Tales of the Tikongs (1983)

Patricia Grace, Potiki (1986)

'Oiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journal, Vol 1, December 1998.

Alan Duff, Once Were Warriors (1991)

Packet of Readings


All books are available at Mother Kali's Books at 720 E. 13th and are on reserve at Knight Library. Articles are also on reserve at Knight Library (R) and are available in a bound packet at the Campus Book Store. Many of the articles are also available on electronic reserve (usemame = springO 1, password = goducks).




All students are required to come to class prepared to discuss all the readings assigned for the day. Because this is a seminar, it is important that you do not miss class; more than two unexcused absences will lower your grade. Undergraduates are required to write three papers (4-5 pages), each worth one third of the grade (due 4/24, 5/22, 6/11). All assignments will be handed out in class. All papers must be typed or printed, double-spaced, 10-12 point, and stapled. Graduate students will complete the tourism assignment (one-third of the grade) and a longer research paper of 10-12 pages (two-thirds of the grade) completing a prospectus by week 5. No late papers will be accepted if you do not make arrangements with me prior to the due-date.


Students are also required to attend at least two films or lectures that will be arranged outside of class.




Week 1: Geographic and Political Overview

April 3



Film: Wayfinders


April 5

Ben Finney, "The Other One-Third of the Globe" Journal of World History, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1994 pp. 273-297. (R)


Epeli Hau`ofa, "Our Sea of Islands," in Inside Out: Literature, Cultural Politics, and Identity in the New Pacific (NY: Rowan and Littlefield, 1999 (pp. 137-166). (R)


Week 2: "Orientalism" and Oceania: Representations and Literature


April 10

Margaret Jolly, "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), 1997. (R)


In-class viewings:

Selected scenes from Hawai'i (the Michener-based movie), Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific (1958), Elvis Presley' s Blue Hawai'i (1960), Esther Williams' Pagan Love Song (1950).


April l2


In-class readings of excerpts of writings by missionaries, travelers and novelists who focus on "The South Seas."


Vilsoni Hereniko, "Representations of Cultural Identities," in Inside Out (see above). (only on Reserve at Knight Library).


Week 3: Re-envisioning Paradise

April 17 and 19


Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Blu 's Hanging (1997)


In-class audiotape: Darrell Lum, Pass On, No Pass Back


Week 4: Tourism

Apri1 24

Jamaica Kincaid, excerpt from A Small Place (R)


Haunani-Kay Trask, "Lovely Hula Hands: Corporate Tourism and the Prostitution of Hawaiian Culture" in From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai'i ((Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999), pp. 136-147. (R)


Tourism assignment due in class


Apri1 26

Frederick Errington and Deborah Gewertz, "Tourism and Anthropology in a Post-Modern World," Oceania 60 (1989), pp. 37-54. (R)


film: Cannibal Tours


**Recommended Lecture by Caren Kaplan (UC Berkeley), "Home, Place and Nation." Knight Library Browsing Room at 4:00.


Week 5: Development

May 1 and 3

Epeli Hau`ofa, Tales of the Tikongs


Robert Kiste, "United States," in Tides of History: The Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century ed. KR Howe, et. al. (UH press, 1994) (R)


Rec: David Hanlon: "Introduction" to Remaking Micronesia: Discourses over Development in a Pacific Territory (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, c1998) (on Reserve).


Week 6: Militarism in the Pacific

May 8

Stewart Firth, "Strategic Nuclear Issues" in Tides of History. (R)


film: Half-Life: A Parable for the Nuclear Age


May 10

Teresia Teaiwa, "bikinis and other s/pacific n/oceans," The Contemporary Pacific 6(1): 87-109. (R)


Rec: Vincent Diaz, "Deliberating ‘Deliberation Day': Identity, History, Memory and War in Guam" in Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s). T. Fujitani, G. White, and L. Yoneyama, eds. (Durham: Duke U Press, 2001).


Week 7: Issues of Sovereignty and Indigenous Rights

** Monday May 14**

Seminar with J. Kehaulani Kauanui: "Pacific Points of Entry: Theorizing Hawaiian Genealogies of Diaspora and Citizenship" in the Jane Grant Room of CSWS (330 Hendricks Hall)


May 15

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, "’For Get': Hawaiian Entitlement: Configurations of Land, ‘Blood,' and Americanization in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921". Social Text 59, Vol. 17, No. 2 (summer 1999): 123-144. (R)


Public Law 103-150, 103rd Congress, November 23, 1993. (R)


Noenoe Silva, "Kanaka Maoli Resistance to the Annexation," 'Oiwi, pp. 40-75.


Guest Speaker: J. Kehaulani Kauanui


May 17

'Oiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journal, Vol. 1, December 1998.


film: Act of War


Week 8-10: Novels of the Pacific


May 22 and 24 (Paper #2 due in class on May 22)


Sia Figiel, where we once belonged

Penelope Schoeffel, “Social Change," Tides of History: The Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century ed. KR Howe, et. al. (UH press, 1994), pp. 350-380. (R)


film: Tala Pasifika


May 29 and 31

Patricia Grace, Potiki


Films: Nga Kara Me Nga Iwi: The Flags and the People (1991, 48 minutes)

Ruia Taitea: The World is Where We Are (Patricia Grace) (1990, 46 minutes)


June 5

Alan Duff, Once Were Warriors

Rec: Marcia Langton, "The Politics of Aboriginal Representation" in Well, I Heard It on the Radio and I Saw It on the Television pp. 22-43.


film: Once Were Warriors (1995) (evening showing)


June 7: Cultural Renaissance


Paper #3 due in class on June 7 or in my office at 10:00 Monday, June 11.


Jocelyn Linnekin, "Defining Tradition: Variations on the Hawaiian Identity" American Ethnologist, vol. 10, 1983, pp. 241-252. (R)


Haunani-Kay Trask, "What do you mean ‘We,' White Man?” in From a Native Daughter. (R)


Elizabeth Buck, "Introduction" and "Transformations in Ideological Representations: Chant and Hula," from Paradise Remade: the Politics of Culture and History in Hawaii (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993). (Only on reserve at the Knight Library)


Guest: Leilani Beymer (Hula teacher)


Evening Film Series


Week 2:

South Pacific (1958) and other clips


Week 3:

Te Rua (1991, 105 minutes)


Week 4:

Pacific Island Diaries (Happy Birthday Tutu Ruth, Chamoru Dreams)


Week 5:

Yap: How did you know we'd like TV?


Week 6

A Nuclear Free Pacific (56 minutes, 1988)


Week 7

And Then There Were None


Week 8

Tala Pasifika


Week 9

Feathers of Peace


Week 10

Once Were Warriors




WST 407/507

Literatures and Cultures of the Pacific


Tourism Assignment


The purpose of this assignment is to explore the impact of tourism on the Pacific Islands. For this assignment you will be gathering information from a variety of perspectives. First, choose a Pacific Island nation that interests you. In order to get a sense of the different countries, you might explore the websites I gave you on the first day, particularly the World Fact Book:

(http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html) and Newspapers of Oceania: (http://www.kidon.com/media-link/oceania.shtml).   


Your paper should answer the following two questions:


1.   Find out how this country is "marketed" by the tourist industry.  As part of your package, include some tourist ads and do a "close reading" of the ad. How is the country represented for visitors? What does the country and its people "offer" to tourists? How much does it cost to go there and who are the majority of visitors? You can most likely find ads in travel magazines and brochures at travel agencies (the biggest in town are Ambassador Travel at 11th and Pearl and Away Travel at 8th and Olive).


2.  Now try to assess how tourism affects the country. How much does tourism contribute to the economy and what are its costs (environmental, social, cultural, political etc)? This information will be found in the library and on the web. Keywords will most likely be "tourism" and "Pacific" and/or the name of the country you are studying.


This paper should be 5-6 pages (10-12 point) in addition to the ads you include. Each part of the paper should have a clear thesis and your arguments should be supported with evidence. I expect your papers to be complete, proof-read, and carefully written. Your grade will be based on the content and clarity of your paper.


Have fun with this! We will share the ads in class. I look forward to reading what your research reveals and your thoughts about it.



WST 4071507: Literatures and Cultures of the Pacific Islands

Professor Judith Raiskin

321 Hendricks Hall, 346-2566, raiskin@oregon.uoregon.edu


Paper Assignment #3

Due in class on June 7 or in my office on Monday, June 11


For this paper, please focus on Potiki by Patricia Grace, where we once belonged by Sia Figiel, and/or Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff.


Choose one of the topics below and write a 5-page paper in which you present a thesis and support it with evidence from the novels. You may focus on one novel or compare two or three. If you compare two or three novels be sure to develop a thesis that refers to each, highlighting either their similarities or their differences. Your paper should persuasively develop a particular "reading," an argument that makes an important claim.


Remember that these are literary texts (not sociology or anthropology monographs) and they use literary devices such as character development, narrative structure, point of view, poetic language, and so on to create a mood and tell a story. Whenever possible, examine how the author tells that story and how she or he makes   it emotionally engaging (or believable). Be sure to develop a clear thesis that you support with documented evidence from the book(s) you choose.


1. What is the relationship between spirituality and politics as represented in one or more of these novels? You might think about the role of "tradition" in both spiritual and political movements as they appear in this literature. For this topic, you might want to read the Linnekin and Trask articles assigned for June 7.


2. What is the significance of "place" or "location" in this/these novel(s)? You might think about geographical place, cultural space, racial identity, class position, colonial identification, etc. If you choose to focus on one novel you might examine how the characters serve as doubles or foils for one another underscoring particular larger themes regarding "place" in the novel.


3. How do the authors you choose understand the role of education in the process of colonialization or emancipation?


4. You may pursue a question or theme of your own. Be sure to check it out with me beforehand.



Upload: 09/26/2001

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