By Paul Lyons
This provocative research and critique of yank 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 idea that of ‘American Pacificism’, a theoretical framework that attracts on modern theories of friendship, hospitality and tourism to refigure demonstrated debates round ‘orientalism’ for an Oceanian context.
Paul Lyons explores American-Islander kin and strains the ways that primary conceptions of Oceania were entwined within the American mind's eye. at the one hand, the Pacific islands are visible as fiscal and geopolitical ‘stepping stones’, instead of leads to themselves, while at the different they're seen as ends of the earth or ‘cultural limits’, unencumbered via notions of sin, antitheses to the commercial worlds of financial and political modernity. despite the fact that, either conceptions vague not just Islander cultures, but in addition cutting edge responses to incursion. The islands as an alternative emerge on the subject of American nationwide id, as areas for clinical discovery, soul-saving and civilizing missions, manhood-testing event, nuclear checking 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, worthwhile number of literary works, historic and cultural scholarship, govt files and vacationer literature.
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Additional info for American Pacificism Oceania in the U.S. Imagination (Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures)
Quoted in Klein 2003: 251) Such liberal racism vis-à-vis Oceanians is characteristic of Michener, the selfdescribed “cultural geographer” of Asia and the Pacific during the Cold War period (Grobel 1999: 168), who, as journalist, pundit, advisor to the State Department and various corporations, and bestselling author, exercised enormous influence. While a career-long social progressive and anti-racist, Michener habitually dispels any notion of indigenous rights in promoting East–West relations.
Timothy Dwight’s “America; or, A Poem on the Settlement of the British Colonies” (1780) subordinates “savage nations” as it apostrophizes the new Republic: Hail land of light and joy! thy power shall grow Far as the seas, which round they regions flow; Through earth’s wide realms thy glory shall extend, And savage nations at thy scepter bend. Around the frozen shores thy sons shall sail, Or stretch their canvas to the ASIAN gale. S. S. “race to the Orient” (Schueller 2001: 2, 23). From an Oceania-based viewpoint – one informed by the on-the-ground perspectives of Oceanians and by the continuing project of Pacific studies to become decolonized – this highlights the hold of what might be considered a repeating series of opening accounts toward Asia.
Colonial activity began. If, as S. S. national aspirations (Shankar 2001). I am particularly attentive to how, as ambitions for extension formed in the pre-colonial period, they were denied or covered over by both economically imperialistic commercial narratives and glossing, oneiric representations of Oceania. Bifurcating between exotic notions of friendly and hostile natives, these representations have been recurrently rechannelled into touristic forms. As Deborah Root has shown, “because exoticism works by generating excitement” from “the ambivalent relation to difference,” qualities that are abject can with “the proper distance produce delight, desire” (Root 1998: 34).