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Identifying the VA: Space in Contemporary Pasifika Creative Writing.

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Title:Identifying the VA: Space in Contemporary Pasifika Creative Writing.
Authors:Staley, Andrea F.
Contributors:Pacific Islands Studies (department)

Pacific literature
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Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:The concept of space is fundamental to language and cognition and is uniquely organized within
and across different cultures of the world. This thesis investigates the cultural concept of vā
(space; the space between) as arising out of Samoan and Tongan cultural contexts. It also
explores an associated cultural practice called teu le vā (Samoan) or tauhi vā (Tongan), both of
which connote the nurturing of space between peoples and things. I tease out the ways in which
these concepts are made concrete and active in the day-to-day lives of Tongan and Samoan
persons both within their island homes and abroad, particularly through the uses of language.
More than being prominent in writings throughout the region, vā/tā can be applied as a
methodological approach to reading Tongan and Samoan literature in ways that reveal the
significance of space-time, the concept of a space between, and discourses on identity, in
writings that embody these concepts but do not explicitly refer to them. I argue that vā can be
used as an ontologically and epistemologically rooted tool – or framework – for doing critical
scholarship with literature of these places – scholarship that helps us read space, place, and
identity. As I track the uses of these concepts among a number of scholars and writers of Pacific
literature throughout the region, I also search for concepts emerging out of other Oceanic
cultures that resonate with Samoan and Tongan conceptualizations of space, time, and sociality
through vā. Having engaged with the Samoan and Tongan conceptual frameworks of vā as
emerging from its respective cultures and literatures, I test the applicability of the concept as a
framework for reading the creative writing of three Pasifika poets based in New Zealand.
Description:M.A. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
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: M.A. - Pacific Islands Studies

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