Disappearing Worlds: Anthropology and Cultural Studies in Hawai'I and the Pacific

White, Geoffrey M.
Tengan, Ty Kawika
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University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
In this paper we look at relations between anthropology, cultural studies, and native studies on the basis of their practice in the Pacific, focusing particularly on the history of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i. We draw attention to the absence of Pacific Islanders and, specifically, of Hawaiians as authors, agents, and practitioners of anthropology. Having noted these absences, we probe disciplinary practices that (re)produce boundaries of inside-out, native-other, repres e n t e r- re p resented in Pacific scholarship. In part i c u l a r, we examine ways in which fieldwork as both ideology and practice enforces separation between anthropology and native studies. Another development calling attention to the boundaries of anthropological discourse is the emergence of significant numbers of native authors and activists concerned with issues of culture, history, and politics. In contrast to the relative absence of indigenous practitioners of anthropology in the Pacific, recent years have seen a virtual renaissance of fiction writing and video production by Pacific Islanders, creating new forms of cultural criticism akin to interdisciplinary cultural studies in other parts of the world. As anthropology reconceptualizes the objects of its research, devises new approaches to fieldwork, and otherwise engages in dialogue with a range of interlocutors, the discipline is being redefined with as yet indeterminate results.
anthropology, cultural studies, fieldwork, Hawai'i, representation
White, G. M., and T. K. Tengan. 2001. Disappearing Worlds: Anthropology and Cultural Studies in Hawai'I and the Pacific. Special issue, The Contemporary Pacific 13 (2): 381-416.
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