Histories of the Pacific
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This paper presents an overview of 18th century history of the islands in the Pacific region. The paper discusses various literary depictions of the history of Hawaii and Tahiti. The voyages and life of Captain Cook are explored, culminating in an account of his death at Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii, in 1779. The paper explains how Cook became emblematic of resolution, unity of purpose and self-sacrifice.
From the Paper:"The real Pacific is not a static place as the Pacifics of the mind tend to be; and nor are the peoples who have acted upon it and within it the simple ciphers of exploiter and victim, powerless and powerful that some depictions would suggest. Nor can straightforward interpretations of linear progress towards "civilization" suffice, with their emphasis on great events as stepping-stones in the march towards modernity - what one historian of Hawaii has called "narratives that chronicle Hawaiian history after Western great men reached Hawai'i's shores, foregrounding events and actors that, to Western observers, marked the evolution of Hawaii from primitiveness to progressing civilization" (Buck, 13). The key to avoiding such caricatures is in understanding the significance of the act of representation: "Native and stranger each possessed the other in their interpretations of the other" (Dening, 281). The events and encounters that have played so important a role in Pacific historiography (as that historiography has been shaped by Euroamerican culture) have been conveyed to their audiences as multifaceted, multilayered and contested, representing the meeting and mutual reshaping of different societies according to prevailing power relationships and ideologies. As Nicholas Thomas has observed, "An essentialism of cultural identity that speaks of undivided 'natives' or 'colonizers' is no more plausible or helpful analytically than one based on sex, which pretends that women or men globally have shared interests, oppressions, or psychologies" (Thomas, 42)."
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Histories of the Pacific (2005, August 21) Retrieved February 23, 2024, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/histories-of-the-pacific-60474/
"Histories of the Pacific" 21 August 2005. Web. 23 February. 2024. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/histories-of-the-pacific-60474/>