Whose Paradise? Encounter, Exchange, and Exploitation

Alexeyeff, Kalissa
McDonnell, Siobhan
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University of Hawai‘i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
This essay is a critical reexamination of the trope of paradise. This trope has a long global history encompassing colonial imaginings and missionary and travel narratives, and notions of “paradise” continue to influence contemporary nar- ratives of place and landscape in the Pacific for Indigenous groups and others. While much has been written about the potency of the paradise trope in the West, it is often implicitly assumed that Indigenous engagement with the trope amounts to a simple rejection or dismissal of “paradise.” In contrast, we suggest that the dynamics of possession, dispossession, and repossession of paradise require fur- ther investigation. Paradise is both an imaginary that frames foreign engagement with the Pacific and a complex political landscape that is mobilized by Indigenous people both to contest neocolonial forms of appropriation and exploitation and to affirm local articulations of ownership and belonging in the Pacific.
paradise, possession, colonialism, tourism, globalization, Pacific representation, identity politics
Alexeyeff, K, and McDonnell, S. 2018. Whose Paradise? Encounter, Exchange, and Exploitation. The Contemporary Pacific 30 (2): 269–295.
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