CSP 26 Roots and Routes in Oceania

Oceania, as proclaimed by Epeli Hau'ofa, is comprised of a “sea of islands” that cross the boundless Pacific Ocean. The course begins by centering indigenous knowledge systems about pathways for human migration and trade through seafaring. We discuss indigenous seafaring as a social practice and system that encouraged long-distance, two-way crossings. The waterway not only facilitated material exchange (i.e. canoes, stone tools, etc.) but reflected Oceanic epistemologies about space and place that involved the connection between the land and the sea, as well as the underworld and sky. When viewed in this way, Euro-American colonial cartographies that have defined Pacific island communities since the eighteenth century are challenged in favor of interconnected Oceanic narratives about the sea as home (the sea as a collection of communities). Ultimately, students are asked to consider Pacific Islander art -- from painting and tattoos to music and performance -- as yet another means of indigenous interconnectivity, while simultaneously engaging scholarship about colonial, postcolonial, and imperial enterprises in the Pacific.


4 units


Open only to first year frosh