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Title: Beyond “the English Method of Tattooing”: Decentering the Practice of History in Oceania 
Author: Hanlon, David
Date: 2003
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Hanlon, D. 2003. Beyond “the English Method of Tattooing”: Decentering the Practice of History in Oceania. Special issue, The Contemporary Pacific 15 (1): 19-40.
Abstract: Questions abound as to the very nature and meaning of history in contemporary
Oceania. Much conventional scholarship in the Euro-American world continues
to focus on the search for a single, knowable, verifiable past. The recent disturbance
of conventional academic practices by ethnographic and theoretical investigations
into the practice of history has helped make space for the reemergence
of more local histories. However, acute tension arises as more local expressions of
the past struggle against the still alien, potentially neocolonizing dimensions of
these more hospitable academic perspectives. Multiple, varied, and contentious
indigenous expressions regarding the past suggest that what has come to be
understood as history in the West may not be history to, for, or even about the
peoples of Oceania. Vernacular as well as appropriated forms of history in the
region must be appreciated. The decentering of the practice of history in Oceania
requires a recognition that writing—“the English method of tattooing”—is but
one form of historical expression.
ISSN: 1043-898X
Keywords: colonialism, decolonization, discourse, historiography, indigenous scholarship, Oceania, Pacific history
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.

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