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Tropical Fevers: "Madness" and Colonialism in Pacific Literature

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Title: Tropical Fevers: "Madness" and Colonialism in Pacific Literature
Authors: Luangphinith, Seri
Keywords: Pacific literature
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Luangphinith, S. 2004. Tropical Fevers: "Madness" and Colonialism in Pacific Literature. The Contemporary Pacific 16 (1): 59-85.
Abstract: In Pacific literature, theorizing madness in fictional narratives encourages a reexamination
of the notion of “deviancy” that supports the western colonial differentiation
between the powerful and the disempowered. Fictional accounts of
madness often reveal how such bipolar ideology is inadequate to address individual
identity in Pacific Island societies, which include variegated expressions of
ethnic or racial diversity, sexuality, and gender. Not surprisingly, many Pacific
writers use “disturbed” characters to disrupt social conventions and challenge the
tendency of the mainstream toward two-dimensional, black and white portrayals.
In an attempt to understand the prevalent use of madness to deconstruct colonial
polarity in Pacific literature, this paper traces the depiction of insanity in the
works of James Norman Hall, Albert Wendt, Subramani, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell,
and Sia Figiel, authors who move beyond simplistic notions of identity and
rethink the Pacific on their own terms.
ISSN: 1043-898X
Appears in Collections:TCP [The Contemporary Pacific ], 2004 - Volume 16, Number 1

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