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American Pacificism Oceania in the U.S. Imagination by Paul Lyons

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 fancy, violent historical past. 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 basic conceptions of Oceania were entwined within the American mind's eye. at the one hand, the Pacific islands are visible as financial and geopolitical ‘stepping stones’, instead of results in themselves, while at the different they're considered as ends of the earth or ‘cultural limits’, unencumbered by means of 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 additionally leading edge responses to incursion. The islands as a substitute emerge in terms of American nationwide id, as areas for medical 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 international tourism, this thought-provoking quantity attracts upon a large, worthwhile number of literary works, historic and cultural scholarship, govt records and vacationer literature.

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

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This attitude toward a putative Oceanian cannibalism, in my analysis, eventuates in various forms of cannibal tours that at once desire to conserve/confine Islanders within premodernity, and to bring Islanders out of intolerable practices, 18 Introduction or to consume them within democratic modernity. S. ” The reception of Herman Melville’s early fiction exemplifies these dynamics, and chapter 1 concludes with an abbreviated tour of Melville studies, figured as a metonymy for the ways in which American studies have both insubstantialized Islanders and refigured Oceania toward nationalistic ends.

4 From the Cold War onward, such imperialistic actions have increasingly been obscured by tourism. S. broadened its military scope of operations in Oceania, state-sponsored mass touristic promotion intensified. S. S. citizens. Teresia Teaiwa has developed the term “militourism” both to describe a tourism whose stability is underwritten by military presence while the “tourist industry masks the military force behind it” (Teaiwa 1999: 252; see also Enloe 1989), and to Where “cannibalism” has been, tourism will be 27 suggest a symbiotic, gendered connection between invasive military and touristic drives, in which sites of cruelty and violence are turned into sights of voyeuristic fantasy.

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).

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