Children’s Literature

Young Adult Literature in Oceania

In this course, we will examine middle grade and young adult literature with a focus on the region of Oceania. We will discuss a broad range of works by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors that interrogate issues of adolescence and identity formation in relationship to place, culture, authority, and difference in Oceania. How is coming of age affected by the complex and diverse cultures, histories, politics, and languages of the Pacific?  Why do texts for adolescents matter within the larger field of literary production in Oceania? Other issues relevant to a study of these texts include the normalization of controversial subject matter; the ways these texts affirm or subvert settler colonial agendas in the Pacific; and the critical examination of authorship to reflect on tensions having to do with negotiating identity, race, self-representation, and power in colonized and settled lands.

Required Texts

  • Figiel, Sia. Where We Once Belonged
  • Kaopio, Matthew. Written in the Sky
  • Parker, Lehua. One Boy, No Water
  • Salisbury, Graham. Under the Blood Red Sun
  • Yamanaka, Lois Ann Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers
  • Young, Lani Wendt. Telesā: The Covenant Keeper
  • Additional readings available on Laulima

Course Requirements

  • Small Assignments and Participation
  • Oral Presentation
  • Short Analysis Paper
  • Research Paper
  • Final Exam