APPROACHES TO PACIFIC
PACS 601 Graduate
Seminar Fall 2004
10:30-1:00, Webster 103
Hawai‘i at Mnoa
Instructor: Terence Wesley-Smith
Office: Moore 211
10:30-12:00, Wednesdays 2:00-4:00pm, or by appointment
Phone: 956 2668 (direct), 956 7700
The MA program
in Pacific Islands Studies at UH Manoa is an innovative, interdisciplinary
program committed to the production and dissemination of a wide range of
knowledge about Oceania. The program focuses on the island societies of this
vast region, and the dynamic cultural, social, and political interactions that
link them to each other as well as to the rest of the world. It seeks to
understand the many worlds of Oceania through multiple conceptual lenses, drawn
selectively from a range of academic disciplines and from the knowledge systems
of the region itself. Pacific Studies promotes active, student-centered approaches
to learning and encourages creativity in research and representation of island
PACS 601 Learning Oceania is one of three graduate seminars that form the
core of the MA program in Pacific Islands studies. It is designed to complement
the content of PACS 602 Re/Presenting
Oceania, also taught in the fall semester, and to prepare students for PACS
603 Researching Oceania in the spring
semester. This seminar will provide an introduction to the nature and origins
of Pacific Islands Studies as an organized, interdisciplinary field of research
and scholarship. We will discuss how Pacific Islands Studies have been
influenced by, and have influenced, wider disciplinary perspectives; compare
indigenous and introduced sources of knowledge; examine the approaches and
perceptions of indigenous scholars; and explore the epistemological,
conceptual, political, and ethical issues facing students of the region today.
Some conceptual and practical aspects of conducting research will be discussed as
students work through the early stages of preparing a proposal for thesis
research, or to define an area of specialization within the field of study.
The seminar will meet once a week
throughout the semester. There will be formal presentations, sometimes by
invited speakers representing a range of disciplines, but the emphasis will be
on student participation and group discussion.
Students are required to prepare a
concept paper (see Appendix A), and submit three book reviews (see Appendix B).
The concept paper outlines a research topic or area of specialty that will be
developed into a more detailed proposal in PACS
603 Researching Oceania in the spring semester. Students are expected to do
the readings assigned for each session, and to come to class prepared to
participate in the discussion.
1 (8/25) Orientation
expectations and requirements
2 (9/01) What is Pacific Studies?
issues in the field of study
Wesley-Smith 1995 "Rethinking Pacific Islands Studies". Pacific
Studies 18(2): 115-137
Vilsoni Hereniko 2000 “Indigenous
Knowledge and Academic Imperialism”. In Robert Borofsky (ed) Remembrance of
Pacific Pasts: An Invitation to Remake History. 78-91.
Eric Waddell 2003 “Learning Oceania... but also Living
Oceania and Defining Oceania’s Place in the Present and Future World: Some very
preliminary thoughts”. Paper presented at the Learning Oceania conference, Honolulu, 13-15 November 2003.
Teresia Teaiwa 1995 “Scholarship from a
Lazy Native”. In Greenwood, Neuman and Sartori (eds.) Work in Flux. 58-72.
3 (9/08) Researching Oceania
approaches to research; the value, trials and tribulations of developing the
research proposal; critiques of western social scientific approaches; locating
yourself vis-à-vis the topic to be researched
Linda Tuhiwai Smith 1999 “Introduction”.
In Tuhiwai Smith Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples.
Zed Books and University of Otago Press. 1-18.
Katerina Teaiwa and Tarcisius Kabutaulaka
2000 Personalizing Pacific Studies: Strategies for Imagining Oceania/Surfing
Our Sea of Islands: The Politics of Imagination. SPAN 50/51: 15-42
Terence Wesley-Smith 2004 The Ocean in
Me. In Brij V. Lal (ed.) Pacific Places, Pacific Histories. University of
Hawai`i Press, 70-86.
David Hanlon 2004 Wone Sohte Lohdi:
History and Place on Pohnpei. In Brij V. Lal (ed.) Pacific Places, Pacific
Histories. University of Hawai`i Press, 195-215.
4 (9/15) Knowing Oceania
politics and poetics of knowledge and knowledge production about the Pacific. A
critical discussion of a collection of essays by New Zealand historian Kerry
Kerry Howe 2000 Nature, Culture, and
History: The “Knowing” of Oceania. University of Hawai`i Press.
5 (9/22): The MA Program: Requirements and Expectations
A review of the structure and
requirements of the MA program in Pacific Islands studies, including the MA
Written Examination (“comps”) as well as thesis and nonthesis options.
UH Center for
Pacific Islands Studies 2003. MA Theses and Plan B Papers, 1993-2003.
6 (9/29): Identifying key materials (Meet in Hamilton Library,
addition, classroom #156)
searches to identify books and articles of particular relevance to your
proposed research or specialty area.
7 (10/06): Concept papers--student progress reports
ideas described and discussed
8 (10/13): Who owns Pacific History?
do we learn about the past? What is the difference between western and
non-western systems of representing the past? What standards do we employ to
evaluate competing claims about the past?
Robert Borofsky 2000 “An Invitation”. In
Borofsky (ed) Exploring Pacific Pasts: An Invitation: 1-30
Epeli Hau’ofa 2000 “Pasts to Remember”.
In Borofsky (ed) Exploring Pacific Pasts: An Invitation. 453-471.
Terence Wesley-Smith 2000 Historiography
of the Pacific: The Case of The Cambridge History. Race and Class 41(4):
9 (10/20): Anthropology and authenticity
great deal of what we think we know about Pacific cultures is derived from the
work of anthropologists. How do anthropologists construct knowledge about the
region, and what happens when their conclusions are disputed by the subjects of
the investigation? How do Pacific Islanders construct knowledge about their
past and present cultures and traditions? Is there such a thing as
"authenticity" in cultural matters? How can we evaluate contending
accounts of culture, tradition, and authenticity?
Keesing, Roger M. 1989. Creating the
Past: Custom and Identity in the Contemporary Pacific. The Contemporary Pacific
Trask, Haunani-Kay 1991. Natives and
Anthropologists: The Colonial Struggle. The Contemporary Pacific 3: 168-171.
Keesing, Roger M. 1991. Reply to Trask.
The Contemporary Pacific 3: 168-171
Epeli Hau`ofa 1975 Anthropology and
Pacific Islanders. Oceania XIV (4): 283-289
10 (10/27): Orientalism
influential book and its critics. Implications for Pacific Studies
Said, Edward. 1979. Orientalism. New
York: Vintage Books
Reviews of Said
11 (11/03): Redefining Pacific Studies
A critical look at some recent CPIS MA
theses. Each member of the seminar to review one of the following works (this
is a preliminary list— more options to be added):
Gregory Dvorak 2004. Remapping Home:
Touring the Betweenness of Kwajalein
Portia Richmond 2003. Never the Twain
Shall Meet? Causal Factors in Fijian-Indian Intermarriage.
Masami Tsujita 2002. Becoming a Factory
Girl: Young Samoan Women and a Japanese Factory.
April Henderson 1999. Gifted Flows:
Netting the Imagery of Hip Hop Across the Samoan Diaspora.
Ku`uipo Cummings 2004. Hawaiian
12 (11/10): Speaking from Experience
MA candidates and CPIS alumni discuss their research topics and experiences
13 (11/17): Concept papers--student progress reports
ideas described and discussed
14 (11/24): Becoming interdisciplinary: elements of a new approach
discussion of Hereniko’s influential book and its critics.
Hereniko, Vilsoni. 1995. Woven Gods:
Female Clowns and Power in Rotuma.
15 (12/01): Future Directions for Pacific Islands Studies
Konai Helu Thaman 2003 “Decolonizing
Pacific Studies: Indigenous Perspectives, Knowledge, and Wisdom in Higher
Education.” The Contemporary Pacific 15(1): 1-17
Stewart Firth 2003 Future Directions for
Pacific Studies. The Contemporary Pacific 15(1): 139-148
Geoffrey White 2003 Specters of
Disciplinarity: Imagining Academic Communities. Paper prepared for the
"Learning Oceania" Workshop, Center for Pacific Islands Studies,
University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, November 13–15
16 (12/08): Reflection and Review
Soon (in PACS 603 in the spring!) you
will be asked to produce a proposal that describes in detail your proposed research
topic or specialty area. In this course (PACS 601), you are asked to produce a
preliminary description of your project in the form of a concept paper. The
paper should be 10-15 pages long and address the following questions: What is
the proposed topic or specialty area? Why is it worth pursuing? How do you
intend to research the proposed topic or demonstrate mastery of the specialty
area? What books and articles are relevant?
The idea is to capture the core of your
project, the central ideas, which will be fleshed out in more detail later.
This may sound easy but it isn't. It usually requires a considerable amount of
reading and thinking, drafting and redrafting.
paper (due 9/01)
To help you get started you are asked to
write a short essay (1-3 pages) indicating why you have chosen to study the
Pacific Islands, and what particular aspects interest you the most. Identify
and discuss briefly at least three possible research topics or specialty areas
that you might focus on in your MA program.
The concept paper will be submitted first
as a draft, with the revised version due at the end of the semester.
paper due 12/08
You are asked to write book reviews of
the following books:
1. Howe, K. R. 2000. Nature, Culture, and
History: The “Knowing” of Oceania. UH Press. Due 9/15
2. Said, Edward 1979. Orientalism. New
York: Vintage Books. Due 10/27
3. Hereniko, Vilsoni. 1995. Woven Gods:
Female Clowns and Power in Rotuma. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press,
Pacific Islands Monograph #12. Due 11/24
Each review should be 8-10 pages long,
and be of publishable quality. Reviews should a) summarize the contents of the
book, b) identify the author's main themes or arguments, and (most important!)
c) discuss the book's significance in the field of Pacific studies.