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 pulls on modern theories of friendship, hospitality and tourism to refigure validated debates round ‘orientalism’ for an Oceanian context.

Paul Lyons explores American-Islander family members 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 obvious 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 way of notions of sin, antitheses to the economic worlds of monetary and political modernity. despite the fact that, either conceptions vague not just Islander cultures, but additionally leading edge responses to incursion. The islands as an alternative emerge on the subject of American nationwide identification, as locations for clinical discovery, soul-saving and civilizing missions, manhood-testing experience, 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 selection 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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S. public mostly as the author of a series of exotic articles on island life in the Atlantic Monthly. Some mixture of love and hate, of Freud’s side-by-side “contrary impulses,” seems to be fundamental to all forms of racism, particularly where the raced “other” is imagined as an earlier version of the self. S. discourse develops in and against particular historical formations, informed by internalized censorship and self-fashioning. S. authors from the early nineteenth century onward, since shipboard narratives were retailed by their authors as commodities as much as informational texts.

S. S. 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).

Whipple’s ideas about Oceania in Yankee Whalers in the South Seas are thoroughly conventional in being relentlessly bifurcated, poised between, and ambiguously embodying, attraction and repulsion, hospitality and hostility. ” He notes that, for whalemen, they were invariably called “the cannibals,” “whether they were actually cannibals or not” (Whipple 1973: 72). In writings such as Whipple’s, based on selective and sensationalized readings of validated texts within the American Pacific archive, Islanders are recurrently divided between “hostile” or “friendly” natives (generally, the darker, the less hospitable), or between peoples who are extravagantly fearsome (cannibals, against whom preemptive violence might be required, and to whom civilization must be brought) or extravagantly friendly (generous hosts, who offer to share the bounty of idyllic islands, or swim out to the ship seductively).

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