Intro to Lit: Lit & Culture (Decolonial Pac Lit)

The Past before Us:Decolonial Pacific Literature

“We cannot read our histories without knowing how to read our landscapes (and seascapes). When we realise this, we should be able to understand why our languages locate the past as ahead or in front of us. It is right there on our landscapes in front of our very eyes.”

–Epeli Hau‘ofa


“Wesweat and cry salt water, so we know that the ocean is really in ourblood.”



In this course we will read/listen to/watch, talanoa/discuss, and write about a selection of Oceanic novels, short stories, poems and critical essays. We will ask and attempt to answer questions such as, what are the genealogies of Oceanic literatures? How does Oceanic literature reflect these genealogies? What are the possibilities and limitations of written literatures? What roles do Oceanic writers and texts play in contemporary Oceania? How are they connected to place (home-lands/ocean/the Diaspora) and across Oceania? We will discuss the political and decolonial nature of writing from Oceania related to sovereignty, colonialism, militarism, globalization, gender and sexuality amongst other themes. 


This is a writing intensive course; you will write three papers as well as complete informal writing assignments and participate in peer review workshops.


Required Texts: (Most texts available at Revolution Books, 2626 King Street—all other texts will be available on Laulima, including critical essays, audio and video performances)

  • GraceMera Molisa, Black Stone
  • AlbertWendt, Black Rainbow
  • PatriciaGrace, Baby No-Eyes
  • SiaFigiel, Where We Once Belonged
  • BrandyNalani McDougall, The Salt Wind KaMakani Pa‘akai
  • EpeliHau‘ofa, Tales of the Tikongs
  • CraigSantos Perez, from unincorporatedterritory [saina]
  • TeresiaTeaiwa and Sia Figiel, Terenesia: AmplifiedPoetry and Songs(CD)


Course Requirements:

  1. Classparticipation & attendance
  2. Threepapers (6-8 pages)
  3. Informalwriting assignments
  4. Quizzeson readings
  5. Presentations


Distribution of Final Grade:

45%     Three Papers

20%     Informal writingassignments

20%     Quizzes on readings

15%     Presentations