2022 AM Pacific Dreams

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  • Full Title: Pacific Dreams: Colonial Encounters, Culture and Sexuality in the South Seas
  • Modul: ang613 Regional Literatures and Cultures
  • Lecturer: Anna Auguscik
  • Course: 3.02.130
  • Time: Thursday 12-14h
  • Venue: A06 0-009
  • Course Description: Our goal as part of this seminar is to familiarize ourselves with the Pacific and its discursively constructed identity in literary representations from the 19th to the 21st century as part of the module ang613: Regional Literatures and Cultures. We will focus especially on literary negotiations of encounters between colonizers and colonized, on Pacific islands as anthropological laboratories and their relevance for the 'cultural turn', as well as on the work of 'writing back' to a century-long Western tradition of representing a very sexualized 'paradise'.

Please, buy and read the following novels:

  • Herman Melville, Typee [1846]. Ed. John Bryant. London: Penguin Classics, 1996.
  • Lily King, Euphoria. London: Picador, 2014.
  • Sia Figiel, Where We Once Belonged [1996] New York: Kaya, 2007.

In addition (or instead of the third novel), you may also choose to work with one from among the following:

  • J.G. Ballard, Rushing to Paradise [1994]. New York and London: Liveright, 2013.
  • Hanya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees [2013]. London: Picador, 2018.
  • Sia Figiel, Freelove. Honolulu, Lo'ihi: 2016.

PLEASE NOTE: Please use the time until the beginning of term to immerse yourself in the reading of the novels. Additional materials for preparation, as well as the detailed syllabus, will be made available here and/or on Stud.IP. There will be a Handapparat in our library.

Week 1: 21 April 2022: Introduction: Maps and/as Representations of the Pacific

  • Welcome: Please read my message under 'Ankündigungen on Stud.IP'; familiarize yourself with the draft syllabus that you find here and note the course requirements for 6 KP:
  • (1) excerpts and textual analysis assignments (upload weekly to Stud.IP)
  • (2) one RPO (upload to Stud.IP by )
  • (3) one seminar paper (12-15 pp), based on the topic of your RPO (upload to Stud.IP and hand in as print version by 15 Sept); or alternatively: one presentation (approx. 10-12 min.) and written outline (approx. 10 pp), based on the topic of your RPO (upload to Stud.IP and hand in as print version by 15 Sept).
  • Reading: excerpts from Simon Winchester, Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators and Fading Empires. New York et al.: HarperCollins, 2015.

Week 2: 28 April 2022: Theory and Methods I

  • Topic: Colonial Encounters and Travel Writing
  • Reading: Mary Louise Pratt, "Introduction". Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London and New York: Routledge, 1992. 1-11.
  • Background reading: "Othering" in Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin (eds.). Post-colonial Studies: The Key Concepts [2000]. New York: Routledge, 2007.

Week 3: 5 May 2022: Textual Analysis of Typee

Week 4: 12 May 2022: Critical Perspectives on Typee

  • Topics: Colonial Encounters, Cultural Difference, Sexuality
  • Secondary Reading: Edwards, "Melville's Peep-Show" (1999)
  • Presentation on representation of French colonialists

Week 5: 19 May 2022: Theory and Methods II

  • Topic: Colonial Encounters and Anthropology
  • Reading: Sarah Ahmed, "Knowing Strangers." Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. 55-74.
  • Further reading: Derek Freeman's 1983 critique of Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa

Week 6: 26 May 2022: no session

Week 7: 2 June 2022: Textual Analysis of Euphoria

Week 8: 9 June 2022: Critical Perspectives on Euphoria I

  • Topics: Colonial Encounters, Cultural Difference, Sexuality
  • Secondary Reading: Diane Losche, "Haunted Anthropologists in Three Novels of Melanesia." Haunted Pacific: Anthropologists Investigate Spectral Apparitions across Oceania. Ed. Roger Iva Lohmann. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2019. 169-189.

Week 9: 16 June 2022: Critical Perspectives on Euphoria II

  • Topics: Colonial Encounters, Cultural Difference, Sexuality
  • Presentations

Week 10: 23 June 2022: Theory and Methods III

  • Topic: Towards an Oceanic Pacific
  • Readings:
  • Epeli Hau'ofa, "Our Sea of Islands". A New Oceania: Rediscovering Our Sea of Islands. Eds. Eric Waddell, Vijay Naidu, and Epeli Hau'ofa. Suva: University of the South Pacific, 1993. 2-17.
  • Matt K. Matsuda, "The Pacific." The American Historical Review 111.3 (2006): 758-780.

Week 11: 30 June 2022: Textual Analysis of Where We Once Belonged

Week 12: 07 July 2022: Critical Perspectives on Where We Once Belonged

  • Topics: Colonial Encounters, Cultural Difference, Sexuality
  • Secondary Reading: Keown 2004; Raiskin 2008
  • Presentation
  [Hand in your abstracts for the research papers (i.e. RPO) until 10 July 2022]

Week 13: 14 July 2020: Looking Sideways - Research Perspectives on other Pacific Fiction

  • Topic: Textual Analysis (narration, focalization, character constellation, plot & story, themes & motifs)
  • Primary Literature: Ballard; Figiel; Yanagihara
  • Contexts and presentations

Week 14: 21 July 2020: Looking Backward and Forward

  • Feedback on RPOs and discussion of research papers, see style sheet
  • Comments, questions, and feedback on the evaluation
  [Hand in research papers until 15 September 2022]


Primary Reading

  • see above

Secondary and Further Reading

see also 'Handapparat'

  • Edward Said, "Introduction", in: Orientalism (1978/2003)
  • Mary Louise Pratt, "Introduction: Criticism in the Contact Zone", in: Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (1992)
  • Writing Culture, eds. James Clifford and George Marcus, Berkely: California UP, 1986
  • "Race", Writing and Difference, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Chicago: Chicago UP, 1986
  • Literature and Anthropology, eds. Jonathan Hall and Ackbar Abbas, Hong Kong: Hong Kong UP, 1986.
  • Michael F. Robinson, "Scientific Travel". The Cambridge History of Travel Writing. Eds. Nandini Das and Tim Youngs, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2019.


see MLA


  • Losche, Diane. “Haunted Anthropologists in Three Novels of Melanesia: Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road, Lily King’s Euphoria, and Visitante by Randolph Stow.” Haunted Pacific: Anthropologists Investigate Spectral Apparitions across Oceania. Ed. Roger Ivar Lohmann. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2019. 168-189. Print.

Where We Once Belonged

  • Abubakar, Sadiya. “The Samoan Side: How Sia Figiel Debunks Orientalism in Where We Once Belonged.” IJAPS 14.2 (2018): 105-120. Print.
  • Ahmed, Shene Mohammad. “Double Colonization: A Postcolonial Feminist Study of Sia Figiel’s Where We Once Belonged.” Scholaria 9.1 (2019): 1-10. Print.
  • Cha, Heejung. “’I’ does Not Exist: Developing Female Self with a Polynesian Family Community in Where We Once Belonged by Sia Figiel.” Studies in Modern Fiction 21.1 (2014): 27-51. Print. (nicht verfügbar)
  • Cowling, Wendy. “Island Lives: The Writing of Sia Figiel (Samoa) and Celestine Hitiwa Vaite (Tahiti).” Junctures: The Journal for Thematic Dialogue 12 (2009): 29-41. Print.
  • Devine, Nesta. “Life, the Crocodile, the Pisikoa and the Wind: Representations of Teaching in the Writings of three Pacific Authors.” Waikato Journal of Education 12 (2006): 123-134. Print.
  • Ellis, Juniper. “Tatau and Malu: Vital Signs in Contemporary Samoan Literature.” PMLA 121.3 (2020): 687-701). Print. (eher zu They Who Do Not Grieve, aber auch Anmerkungen zu Where We Once Belonged)
  • Gomes da Rocha, Ana Christina. “Contemporary Indigenous Women’s Fiction from the Pacific: Discourses of Resistance and the (Re)Writing of Spaces of Violence and Desire.” (2021) (Doktorarbeit)
  • Henderson, April K. “The I and the We: Individuality, Collectivity, and Samoan Artistic Responses to Cultural Change.” The Contemporary Pacific 28.2 (2016): 316-345. Print.
  • Kazue, Nakamura. “Suicides and Arsonists: Albert Wendt, Mishima Yukio, Sia Figiel or the Literature of Modern Darkness.” SPAN 54-55 (2005): 44-53. Print. (nicht verfügbar)
  • Keown, Michelle. “’Gauguin is dead:’ Sia Figiel and the Polynesian female body.” In: Keown, Michelle. Postcolonial Pacific Writing: Representations of the body. London: Routledge (2004): 38-60. Print.
  • Lacabanne, Sonia. “Where Two Systems of Colonisation Collide.” Commonwealth 22.1 (1999): 65-72. Print. (nicht verfügbar)
  • Luangphinith, Seri. “Tropical Fever: ‘Madness’ and Colonialism in Pacific Literature.” The Contemporary Pacific 16.1 (2004): 59-85 (75-77). Print.
  • Perelini, Malia Va’a. “Liberating the Samoan Female Body in the Novels of Sia Figiel.” (Abschlussarbeit, auch abgedruckt in SPAN: Journal of the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies 54-55 (2005): 122 ff. Print.
  • Pes, Annalisa. “Indigenous Representations in K. S. Pritchard and Sia Figiel’s Short Fiction.” Drops of Light Coalescing: Studies for Maria Teresa Bindella. Eds. Antonella Riem Natale and Angelo Righetti. Udine, Forum Editrice, 2010. 199-210. Print. (nicht verfügbar)
  • Raiskin, Judith. “Telling Tales Out of School: Sia Figiel and the Indigenous Knowledge in Pacific Islands Literature.” Gender and Globalization in Asia and The Pacific. Ed. Kathy E. Ferguson et al. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008: 15-36. Print.
  • Ramsay, Raylene. “Indigenous Women Writers in the Pacific: Déwé Gorodé, Sia Figiel, Patricia Grace: Writing Violence as Counter Violence and the Role of Local Context.” Postcolonial Text 7.1 (2012): 1-18. Print.
  • Tawake, Sandra. “Transforming the Insider-Outsider Perspective: Postcolonial Fiction from The Pacific.” The Contemporary Pacific 12.1 (2000): 155-175. Print.
  • Thomas, Brooke. “The Diglossic Text as Postcolonial Strategy in the Work of Samoan Writer Sia Figiel.” (Sub)Texts: New Perspectives on Literature and Culture. Eds. Heather Merle Benbow et al. Melbourne, University of Melbourne, 2002. 71-90. (nicht verfügbar)
  • Wilson, Janet M. “Deconstructing Home: ‘The Return’ in Pasifika Writing of Aotearoa New Zealand.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 54.5 (2018): 641-654.

Rushing to Paradise

  • Müller-Wood, Anja. “’Fire and Rage and Cruelty’: J. G. Ballards faszinierender Blick auf die weibliche Gewalt.” Gewalt, Geschlecht, Fiktion: Gewaltdiskurse und Gender-Problematik in zeitgenössischen englischsprachigen Romanen, Dramen und Filmen. Ed. Susanne Bach. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2009. 205-219. Print.