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Contemporary Young Adult Literature In Hawai‘i And The Pacific: Genre, Diaspora, And Oceanic Futures

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Title:Contemporary Young Adult Literature In Hawai‘i And The Pacific: Genre, Diaspora, And Oceanic Futures
Authors:Lesuma, Caryn K.
Contributors:English (department)
Keywords:Young Adult Literature
Pacific Literature
show 2 moreIndigenous pedagogy
Pasifika youth
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Date Issued:Aug 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This dissertation draws on scholarship in the fields of Young Adult literature, Pacific literature, Indigenous education, and critical pedagogy in order to begin the process of defining, evaluating, and teaching literature targeted for adolescent readers in Oceania since the year 2000. Pasifika youth are a population at high risk for a variety of negative outcomes as a result of colonial structures of power that marginalize Indigenous peoples in Oceania, a condition compounded by sustained practices of diaspora and the effects of globalizing forces in the region that result in fragmented and mixed identities. I argue that in its ongoing emergence, Young Adult Literatures of Oceania (YALO) is uniquely positioned to intervene in these issues because in addition to being both developmentally appropriate and decolonial, as a mixed literature—belonging to both YA and Pacific literatures—it reflects the ‘afakasi subjectivities of the youth that it is meant to serve.
Drawing on the frameworks of Albert Wendt’s vision for a New Oceania and Gloria Anzaldúa’s new mestiza, I theorize the concept of the new ‘afakasi, which expands the term’s primary meaning of “mixed race” to encompass all aspects of mixed identity. Using a new ‘afakasi framework that is sensitive to the multiple tensions negotiated by Pasifika youth, I illustrate how YALO texts provide useful models for negotiating conflicting identity. Three major ways that YALO participates in decolonial efforts are (1) through its literary representations of Pasifika adolescence, which portray these youth as intelligent, culturally competent, and powerful; (2) in its creative adaptations of Pacific stories and storytelling forms, which engage Oceanic youth with Indigenous histories and ways of knowing; and (3) via its legitimizing Pasifika intellectual production and encouraging Indigenous pedagogical practices in secondary schools. These functions have additional impacts on settler youth, who can be encouraged to develop settler allyship through engagement with YALO. In arguing for a sustained engagement with literature written for adolescents, my research begins to fill the need for scholarship in Pacific literary studies that attends to the needs of Pasifika youth, who are arguably one of the most marginalized groups in the region.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - English

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