Lit of the Pacific (XL PACS 371)

Wendt’s famous description of the
Pacific as “so vast, so fabulous a creature” is celebratory and inspiring but
can also be a little intimidating. How can we read across such a complex
region? How can such cultural, historical and literary diversity lead to
productive, rather than confused, conversations? What does writing look like in
the Pacific – who’s doing it, and how? – and how is our view of Pacific
Literature both expanded and limited by where we are? How do we read
non-Indigenous writers from around the region, and how do we engage with
non-Indigenous perspectives of the region? 

The course is structured by three
modules: reading the Pacific in Hawai’i, reading around the Pacific, and
reading Pacifically. The first module focuses on reading in specific place,
starting with Indigenous Hawaiian writers and turning to Pacific writers whose
Indigenous links lie elsewhere in the region but who live in Hawai’i. We then
turn our attention to reading around the Pacific region, starting
chronologically with a focus on ‘foundational’ Pacific writers and then reading
spatially when we engage three recent texts by new writers from each of the
three major cultural groups of the region. Finally, we will consider what it
might mean to read regionally – Oceanically, as suggested by Wendt and Hau’ofa
– and focus our discussions by reading one specific novel alongside several
shorter texts.

As well as seminar-style class
sessions, our time together will also be spent welcoming guest writers to read
for us, watching films and participating in focused writing workshops.

Required reading not listed below
will be available to download and print via Laulima.

Course Requirements

  • Attendance
    and participation
  • Two short
    formal papers
  • Informal and
    semi-structured writing assignments
  • Two group
  • ‘Taking it to
    the people’ assignment
  • Research

Required Texts

  • Sullivan,
    Wendt, Whaitiri, Mauri Ola
  • Brandy Nalani McDougall & Craig Santos Perez, Undercurrent[download
    from iTunes]
  • Vernice
    Wineera, Into the Luminous Tide:
    Pacific Poems
  • Caroline
    Sinavaiana-Gabbard, Alchemies of
  • Emelihter
    Kihleng, My Urohs
  • Daren Kamali,
    Tales, Poems and Songs from the
    Underwater World
  • LaniWendtYoung, Telesa – The
    Covenant Keeper.
    [download from]
  • Chantal Spitz,
    Island of Shattered Dreams

Plus, a required course reader which includes
creative texts by individual writers from around the region and key critical