By Paul Lyons

This provocative research and critique of yankee representations of Oceania and Oceanians from the 19th century to the current, argues that imperial fantasies have glossed over a posh, violent heritage. It introduces the concept that of ‘American Pacificism’, a theoretical framework that pulls on modern theories of friendship, hospitality and tourism to refigure proven debates round ‘orientalism’ for an Oceanian context.

Paul Lyons explores American-Islander family members and strains the ways that basic conceptions of Oceania were entwined within the American mind's eye. at the one hand, the Pacific islands are obvious as fiscal and geopolitical ‘stepping stones’, instead of results in themselves, when at the different they're seen as ends of the earth or ‘cultural limits’, unencumbered through notions of sin, antitheses to the commercial worlds of financial and political modernity. even if, either conceptions imprecise not just Islander cultures, but in addition cutting edge responses to incursion. The islands as a substitute emerge on the subject of American nationwide id, as areas for clinical discovery, soul-saving and civilizing missions, manhood-testing experience, nuclear trying out and eroticized furloughs among maritime paintings and warfare.

Ranging from first touch and the colonial archive via to postcolonialism and worldwide tourism, this thought-provoking quantity attracts upon a large, profitable selection of literary works, old and cultural scholarship, executive records and vacationer literature.

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Additional resources for American Pacificism Oceania in the U.S. Imagination (Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures)

Sample text

Avert our ultimate destiny” (quoted in Perry 1994: 84–5). Writer after writer has echoed this viewpoint, as in Mark Twain’s trade-oriented description of Hawai‘i as “a half-way house on the Pacific highway” (Twain 1975b: 233). In the 1950s, University of Hawai‘i administrator William George spoke of the institution as “the central pier of a bridge, one span of which would extend from the continental United States to Hawaii, and the other span from Hawaii to the Orient” (quoted in Quigg 28 Where “cannibalism” has been, tourism will be 1986: 16).

The tendency is to insist upon the will to dominate in imperial culture . . without investigating the ways in which the apparatuses of colonialism and modernity may have been compromised locally” (Thomas 1997: 2–3). In these senses, where Orientalism itself slips toward tourism, tourism theory becomes a useful framework for investigating the forces that work through various forms of critique, whether in fiction or scholarship. Tourism theory keeps in view the pervasive commodification and aesthetically reductive dimensions of representational practices, including “cannibal discourse” as a representational staple of 34 Where “cannibalism” has been, tourism will be the West.

Literary texts absorb and refigure these forms and tropes, in effect representing the processing and reproduction of the cluster of popular and scientific knowledges circulating at a given time, providing complex indexes of the imaginings of Oceania. S. colony in Oceania, or from before the mast, as in Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast (1840), with its intimate accounts of living with kanaka (the Hawaiian term for “person” that became the generic and later derogatory epithet for all Oceanians) in the hide-tanning camps of California, or from a frankly homosexual view such as that of Charles Warren Stoddard, who idealized the islands as sites for male desire.

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