American Pacificism Oceania in the U.S. Imagination by Paul Lyons

By Paul Lyons

This provocative research and critique of yankee representations of Oceania and Oceanians from the 19th century to the current, argues that imperial fantasies have glossed over a posh, violent historical past. It introduces the concept that of ‘American Pacificism’, a theoretical framework that attracts on modern theories of friendship, hospitality and tourism to refigure tested debates round ‘orientalism’ for an Oceanian context.

Paul Lyons explores American-Islander family and lines the ways that basic conceptions of Oceania were entwined within the American mind's eye. at the one hand, the Pacific islands are noticeable as fiscal and geopolitical ‘stepping stones’, instead of results in themselves, while at the different they're considered as ends of the earth or ‘cultural limits’, unencumbered by way of notions of sin, antitheses to the commercial worlds of monetary and political modernity. in spite of the fact that, either conceptions imprecise not just Islander cultures, but in addition leading edge responses to incursion. The islands in its place emerge when it comes to American nationwide id, as areas for medical discovery, soul-saving and civilizing missions, manhood-testing experience, nuclear trying out and eroticized furloughs among maritime paintings and warfare.

Ranging from first touch and the colonial archive via to postcolonialism and worldwide tourism, this thought-provoking quantity attracts upon a large, worthwhile selection of literary works, historic and cultural scholarship, govt records and vacationer literature.

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This is bound to have a profound effect on America’s future in the entire Far East . . S. ’ Hawaii the 50th state could change all this. (quoted in Klein 2003: 251) Such liberal racism vis-à-vis Oceanians is characteristic of Michener, the selfdescribed “cultural geographer” of Asia and the Pacific during the Cold War period (Grobel 1999: 168), who, as journalist, pundit, advisor to the State Department and various corporations, and bestselling author, exercised enormous influence. While a career-long social progressive and anti-racist, Michener habitually dispels any notion of indigenous rights in promoting East–West relations.

The Cold War notional compression, or ascendancy of liberal consensus, made the period amenable to panglossic histourical narrative. S. violence was lost in the “euphoria of our enjoyment of the ends” – the nation’s unprecedented power (Williams 1980: ix). In a section on Michener as “histouricist par excellence,” which sketches the historical content and theory of Hawaii, in conjunction with Michener’s extraliterary works, I examine the ways that histouricism is constituted by a doublegesture that rationalizes and celebrates colonialism, eschewing the word “colonialism,” while silencing Oceanian voices or twisting them into collusive postures.

In the civil and moral 36 Where “cannibalism” has been, tourism will be man” outweighs the value of “all the cannibals in the Pacific” (Emerson 1860: 49). 9). The islands come up reflexively as limit cases in asides, as in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, where a character refers to New Orleans as so wicked it is “most equal to going to the Sandwich islands,” and a rearranged hat is described as giving a slave an air of “defiance, quite equal to that of any Fejee chief ” (Stowe 1981: 245, 100).

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