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Imagining Oceania: Indigenous and Foreign Representations of a Sea of Islands

Imagining Oceania: Indigenous and Foreign Representations of a Sea of Islands This paper considers the relation of indigenous and foreign in how "the Pacific" and the "Pacific Rim" have been and are imagined. First, I ponder the power of cartography through the lens of two maps derived from the eighteenth century and speculate as to how such maps differed from indigenous genealogies of places and peoples. Second, I explore the origins and the lasting significance of the partitioning of the Pacific into the spatiotemporal regions of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia, and consider some indigenous uses of these foreign constructs. Third, I reflect on how academic and policy representations of the Pacific "region" and "rim" have been shaped by geopolitical concerns and developmentalism starting in the 1970s, from the viewpoint of Australia (and in a more fleeting way, the United States). Fourth, through a brief exegesis of the influential writings of Epeli Hau'ofa, I consider his alternative vision of Oceania as a "sea of islands." Finally, I confront the specter of new ethnological typifications derived from a reading of "roots" and "routes" as dichotomy rather than dialectic, and stress the need for refocusing on the relations and creative exchanges between Islanders living in and between region and rim. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

Imagining Oceania: Indigenous and Foreign Representations of a Sea of Islands

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 19 (2) – Aug 13, 2007

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 University of Hawai'i Press. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1527-9464
Publisher site
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Abstract

This paper considers the relation of indigenous and foreign in how "the Pacific" and the "Pacific Rim" have been and are imagined. First, I ponder the power of cartography through the lens of two maps derived from the eighteenth century and speculate as to how such maps differed from indigenous genealogies of places and peoples. Second, I explore the origins and the lasting significance of the partitioning of the Pacific into the spatiotemporal regions of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia, and consider some indigenous uses of these foreign constructs. Third, I reflect on how academic and policy representations of the Pacific "region" and "rim" have been shaped by geopolitical concerns and developmentalism starting in the 1970s, from the viewpoint of Australia (and in a more fleeting way, the United States). Fourth, through a brief exegesis of the influential writings of Epeli Hau'ofa, I consider his alternative vision of Oceania as a "sea of islands." Finally, I confront the specter of new ethnological typifications derived from a reading of "roots" and "routes" as dichotomy rather than dialectic, and stress the need for refocusing on the relations and creative exchanges between Islanders living in and between region and rim.

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Aug 13, 2007

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