Ever since European explorers like Samuel Wallis and James Cook returned from their voyages to the South Pacific with reports about, from a European perspective, newly discovered islands and their human inhabitants, stereotypes about the foreign ‘other’ have been established in European writing about the South Pacific and its peoples, with the more idyllic of them, such as the idea of the South Pacific as a Garden of Eden, still being used by the contemporary tourist industry.
In this course, we will have a look at how the region and its peoples have been represented by Europeans, and how contemporary indigenous writers have reclaimed their right to represent themselves and their interests. We will discuss excerpts from James Cook’s Journals (1768-1779) and from Robert Louis Stevenson’s autobiographical account In the South Seas (1896), we will read contemporary short stories from Oceanian writer Epeli Hau’ofa and from Māori author Patricia Grace, and we will analyse the movies Whale Rider (2002) and Once Were Warriors (1994), which are both based on novels by Māori writers.
James Cook, The Journals of Captain Cook (excerpts).
Richard Louis Stevenson, In the South Seas (excerpts).
Epeli Hau’ofa, Tales of the Tikongs.
Patricia Grace, Waiariki.
Lee Tamahori (dir.), Once Were Warriors.
Niki Caro (dir.), Whale Rider.