Literature of the Pacific

DESCRIPTION: This course surveys imaginative works from Oceania—seen as a vast, varied, interconnected region–from 1960 to the present. The emphasis will be on appreciating Pasifika novels, stories, poems, videos, and plays as at once, 1. attempts by individual authors to grapple with meaning and experience in specific time/places, 2. expressions of the ways in which cultures talk about themselves (to themselves and others), 3. examples of common concerns, collective struggles, and a regional literature with continuities to its expressive traditions. We will consider historical contexts–how something called “Pacific Literature in English” emerged and circulates—along with the constructive roles that imaginative work can play in people’s lives. In formulating approaches to Pacific literature, we will be guided by a number of short videos, essays, commentaries, and interviews on cultural production by Pasifika authors.
Sia Figiel, Where ‘We’ Once Belonged (novel); Patricia Grace, Potiki (novel); Celestine Vaite, Breadfruit (novel); Albert Wendt, Ancestry (short stories); Dewe Gorode, The Wreck
Supplemental readings and materials will be available on a course website through Laulima, and may include works by Nora Vagi Brash, Vince Diaz, Epeli Hau’ofa, Vili Hereniko, Witi Ihimaera, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, John Kasaipwalova, Emelihter Kihlieng, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Grace Molissa, Jamaica Osorio, Craig Santos Perez, John Pule, Caroline Sinavaiana, No’u Revilla, Robert Sullivan, Russell Soaba, Teresia Teaiwa, Haunani-Kay Trask, Hone Tuwhare, Steven Winduo.
Two Short Papers (3 pages 20% Each), A Midterm (15%), A class participation grade (20%) (discussion, several online postings, daily short writings, short reports), and a Final Exam (25%).