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 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 basic conceptions of Oceania were entwined within the American mind's eye. at the one hand, the Pacific islands are noticeable as monetary and geopolitical ‘stepping stones’, instead of leads to themselves, when at the different they're considered as ends of the earth or ‘cultural limits’, unencumbered by way of notions of sin, antitheses to the economic worlds of financial and political modernity. although, either conceptions vague not just Islander cultures, but in addition leading edge responses to incursion. The islands as a substitute emerge on the subject of American nationwide identification, as areas for medical 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 international tourism, this thought-provoking quantity attracts upon a large, profitable choice of literary works, old and cultural scholarship, executive files and vacationer literature.

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

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Are as different from ours as stone axe is from atom bomb” (Oliver 1961: xvii). ’s new role as superpower, culminating in J. F. S. imagination, Olson argues, “The Pacific is . . the Plains repeated, a 20th century Great West. Melville understood the relation of the two geographies”; he understood that “America completes her West only on the coast of Asia” (Olson 1947: 13, 114, 117). ” Through such reading, Melville’s Tommo and Toby, lost in the Marquesas, become “‘pioneers,’ who hack their way through a forest of cane (as if Nukuheva were Kentucky), and encounter Niagras of waterfalls” (Fussell 1965: 236).

S. will, adopted as “wards of Uncle Sam” (as many popular magazines put it), and displaced to the recreational margins of the national imagination, though not without occasional liberal handwringing. What Renato Resaldo calls “imperialist nostalgia,” a way to maintain “one’s innocence and at the same time talk about what one has destroyed” (Rosaldo 1989: 70), is a prevalent half-tone in writing about Oceania, beginning in the early nineteenth century with analogies to Native Americans. “Polynesia, the dying civilization,” wrote James Michener, “haunts the minds of white men who destroyed it” (Michener 1951: 44).

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. More typical and representative are the liberal confusions of Emerson’s journals and essays, in which he revealed his lifelong, anxious, racially hierarchical meditation on the meaning of progress, concluding that civilization necessarily purchases moral advancement with the loss of physical vigor.

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