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Three Centuries of Intercultural Exchange in the Pacific

English 492

University of Hawai‘i at Manoa


Paul Lyons                                                                                             Spring 2004

Kuykendall 520                                                                                      Kuy 401 B

plyons@hawaii.edu, 956-3055                                                                2:30-5:00

Office Hours: M, 10-12 & W, 1-3




            If even the done is shattered, crushed,

            And the marrow is what you are—


            New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu;

            Solomons, Kiribati, Niue;

            Samoa, Tonga, Maoriland, Cook Islands;

            Irian Barat, Australia,


and if especially

those insistent mushrooming discourses

on life for all Pacific

spell genokamikaze through and through—

then I’ll gather up this debris; up, once

all over again: for you, Island.

            --Russell Soaba



TEXTS:  Jonathan Lamb, Vanessa Smith, Nicholas Thomas, eds.  Exploration and Exchange: A South Seas Anthology: 1680-1900; Robert Borofsky, ed.  Remembrances of Pacific Pasts: An Invitation to Remake History; Herman Melville, Typee; Alani Apio, Kamau; Sia Figiel, Where We Once Belonged; a course reader (at Professional Image)


DESCRIPTION:  This course will look, in interdisciplinary ways, at intercultural representation, material and cultural exchange, and performance in the Pacific from the time of explorers, beachcombers, missionaries, traders through the colonial period to the contemporary period, where tourism is often a complex, empty, or exploitative “meeting ground,” as suggested in Dennis O’ Rourke’s documentary Cannibal Tours, which the class will view and discuss early in the semester; we will read two contemporary Pacific works, Sia Figiel’s Where We Once Belonged and Alani Apio’s Kamau, in relation to questions of identity and cultural perpetuation in the age of accelerated globalization.  We will attempt in all cases to understand (and appreciate the complexities of reconstituting) the historical contexts and situations in which encounters and exchange take place.


REQUIREMENTS:  Students will work on a larger, semester project (15-20 pages) that uses some of the resources available in the Pacific Collection, and other major collections in Hawai‘i, as well as non-print resources available in Hawai‘i.  There will be short oral reports and one shorter paper pointing toward the longer one.





E = Lamb, Smith, Thomas, eds.  Exploration and Exchange (1680-1900)

R = Borofsky, ed.  Remembrances of Pacifics Past




1/12:  Key Words and Restorative Approaches to Encounter


Culture, Hospitality, Friendship, Fear, Authenticity, Tradition, mimicry, ignorance Contact Zone/Borderlands/Beach, Translation, Orientalism/Pacificism, Oceania

Wendt, “Inside Us the Dead” (R, 1-34) & excerpts, “Toward a New Oceania” (handout)


1/19:  Approaching Culture and Narrating Encounter


            Williams, “Culture” (handout); Hokari, “Practicing Gurindji History” (handout)

Manulani Meyer, “Hawaiian Epistemology” (handout);

Borofsky, “An Invitation” (R, 1-34)

Albert Wendt, “Toward a New Oceania” and “Intro” to Nuanua


1/26:  Forms of Material and Cultural Exchange


            Hau‘ofa, “Our Sea of Islands” (handout);

Guest, “Cook in Tonga: Terms of Trade” (handout)

            Nicholas Thomas, “The Indigenous Appropriation of European Things” (handout)

            Pat Hopepa, “My Musket, My Missionary, My Mana” (handout)


2/2:  Contemporary Consumption:


            FILM:  Dennis O’Rourke, Cannibal Tours; Culler, “The Semiotics of Tourism”;

Sharrad, “Imagining the Pacific” (handout);

Hereniko, “Academic Imperialism and Indigenous Knowledge” (R, 78-91);

Lutkehaus, “Everything is Not Alright” (handout)




2/9: Adventurers, Explorers, and Islanders


            Introduction to Exploration and Exhange (xiii-xxv)

            “Adventurers & Explorers” (E, 1-7, & Simson, Wallis, Forster, Keate)

            Obeyesekere, “British Cannibals” (handout);

Denning, “Possessing Tahiti” (R, 112-132)


NO CLASS ON 16 (pReSiDeNt’s dAy) – Conferences this week on semester projects


2/23: Beachcombers and Missionaries


            “Introduction” and excerpts (E, 119f & Morrison, Ellis, Wilson, Vason, Robarts)

            Road Edmond, “Missionaries on Tahiti, 1797-1840” (handout)

            Malama Meleisea, “The Postmodern Legacy of a Premodern Warrior Goddess” (handout)


3/2: Fear, Fantasy, and Cultural Encounter


            Herman Melville, Typee;

Lyons, “Fear, Perception, and ‘Cannibalism’” (handout)




3/8: The limits of Anti-Conquest Literature


            Herman Melville, Typee; Jack London,

             “Ko‘olau the Leper”; Calder, “The Thrice Mysterious Taboo” (handout)

             Ku‘ualoha Ho‘omanawanui, “Outlaw or Hero: Two Views of Kaluaiko‘olau”


3/15 – 3/22: Colonial Administration/Indigenous Resistance


            FILM: Utu; Reports on colonialism (and resistance) in the early twentieth century

            Hempenstall, “Releasing the Voices: Historicizing Colonial Encounters” (R, 43-60)


3/29: What does the “post” mean in Postcolonial?


            Sia Figiel, Where We Once Belonged; & “ A Writer’s Story”

            Firth, “Decolonization” (R, 314-332);

Molissa, “Colonized People” (R, 333-7)

            Ward, “Treaty Research” (R, 401-419;

Hau‘ofa, “Pasts to Remember” (R, 453-472)


4/5: Pacific Feminism and the Nuclear Pacific


Sia Figiel, Where We Once Belonged; 

Teresia Teaiwa, “bikinis and other s/pacific n/oceans”;

FILM: Beth’s Story


4/12: Questions of Identity and Diaspora


            Vilsoni Hereniko, “Representations of Cultural Identities,” poems (R, 361-400)

Diaz, “Simply Chamarro: Telling Tales of Demise and Survival in Guam” (R, 362-382)


4/19; Globalism, Anti-Tourism, and Tourism’s Cultures


Alani Apio, Kamau (play);

Subramani, “The Oceanic Imaginary”;

Hereniko, “David and Goliath”;

Sinavaiana and Gegeo, responses to Subramani


4/26: Back to the Future: Imagining a “New Pacific”


            Rob Wilson, “Toward Imagining a New Pacific”;

Clifford, “Valuing the Pacific” (R, 92-99);

Said, “A View From Afar” (R, 443-452);

Hau‘ofa, “Glorious Pacific Way”


5/3: Presentations of Final Project

Upload: 1/27/2004

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