Pacific Studies Initiative Syllabi & Bibliographies



Syllabi & Bibliographies

Internet Resources

Literature/s of the Pacific


Spring 1999

Dr Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard

English Department

University of Hawai'i at Manoa


Course Description

This course introduces students to some significant works of contemporary literature written primarily by indigenous Pacific Islanders. Works include those of writers from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Hawai'i, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Samoa. The course explores questions of these, aesthetics and technique in these literatures as they are imbued and/or shaped by their respective social/historical settings. Key issues include the cultural politics of identity, as the writing serves both to challenge earlier representations of the Pacific by outsiders, and to highlight emerging discourses of gender and class within the region today. The instructor is a native daughter of Samoa with strong ties to Turtle Island.

Required texts:

Kamau A'e, Alani Apio

Nights in the Garden of Spain, Witi Ihimaera

Nuanua, ed. Albert Wendt

Potiki, Patricia Grace

Sons for the Return Home, Albert Wendt

Tales of the Tikongs, Epeli Hau'ofa

The Bone People, Keri Hulme

Additional texts will be provided by the instructor and include, (1) photocopied excerpts from the work of other important writers like Konai Helu Thaman, Haunani-Kay Trask, Grace Molisa, Sia Figiel, Vilsoni Hereniko, and Dan McMullin, and (2) several films, including Alan Duff's Once Were Warriors and Albert Wendt's Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree, Tracy Moffatt's Bedevil, and Geoff Murphy's Utu.

Assignments and Examinations:

In addition to quizzes, reaction/response papers, and final exams, assignments will include (1) a 6-8 page paper on the topic of your choice drawn from the assigned readings. This is not a research paper, but a critical essay on any work or works by an indigenous writer which explore and illuminate the confluence of "culture," history, gender and/or class (at least two of these tributaries) in the contemporary Pacific, (2) one in-class panel presentation.

Upload: 02/08/2000

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