Summer Nov 2012 start
The Pacific Islands: European and Polynesian Visions
This course looks at how European and Polynesian visions of 'the other' have intersected over the course of the last five centuries within the Pacific region.
This course looks at how European and Polynesian visions of ‘the Other’ have intersected during first and early encounters and attempts to unravel some of the cultural misunderstandings, then and nowadays, and academic debates that have resulted from these intersections. Two case studies will be studied in detail: Samoa and Tahiti. The presentation of these misunderstandings and debates will be divided into four topics:
1) The history of European voyages into the Pacific and the development of the 16th-19th centuries of a theory of ‘two races’ in the Pacific, which eventually lead to the invention of the ‘Melanesia/Polynesia’ division in 1832.
2) Recent findings from archaeology and linguistics which had brought a definitive critique to the Melanesia/Polynesia division.
3) The construction among c.18th European voyagers arriving in Polynesia of an illusion about sexual freedom. How and why did Europeans misinterpret their “first contacts” with Polynesians?
4) Conceptualising the idea of Polynesian agency—of Pacific peoples discovering, interpreting and facing the Europeans. Polynesian initiative and knowledge systems have long been neglected, but the notion of ‘encounter’ requires us to look at both sides of the situation. How did the Polynesians interpret the nature of the new comers, and what strategies did they put forward when they saw them setting foot on their shores?
The unravelling of this misunderstanding will also deliver some answers about two topics: the sexual strategies actually used by Polynesians towards the new comers and the question of the violence that prevailed in the first moments of the encounters.
On each of these four topics, the course will combine the disciplines of anthropology and history, applied to Pacific studies, and introduce students to training in the discourses appropriate to an interdisciplinary approach.
Either 15 points in HIST at B grade or better or 30 points in HIST or Ancient History (CLAS111, CLAS112, CLAS113) with a passing grade. Alternatively, a B average in 60 points in appropriate courses with the approval of the Programme Coordinator.
For further information see
School of Humanities.
All HIST266 Occurrences
Summer Nov 2012 start
Semester Two 2012
- Not Offered