In Native Seas: Pacific Indigenous Histories and the Oceanic Turn

When:1 Apr 2014, 12:30pm - 1:45pm
Venue:Morven Brown 310 (map ref C20)
Who:Associate Professor Damon Salesa, University of Auckland
Damon Salesa

History Seminar Series

Abstract: There has been a recent upsurge in the study of oceans as historical subjects—an ‘Oceanic Turn’ we might call it. This follows the success of Atlantic Studies, and has led to new work on the Mediterranean and Indian oceans: making the present a particularly energetic time to be thinking about the oceans and their histories. This has led to new engagements, and new opportunities, in the study of the Pacific.

But along with the opportunities within this ‘Oceanic Turn’ are potential concerns and problems. Some of these are specific to the Oceanic Turn, some specific to Pacific scholarship, and others point to some issues more deeply rooted in questions about historical method, the politics of history, and diverse legacies of empire and inequality.

I use the concept of a ‘Native Sea’ to explore and make visible some indigenous understandings of place, culture, history and the past. These Native Seas can be juxtaposed with some of these recent developments in the ‘Oceanic Turn’, and are revealing both of some dimensions of Pacific history and peoples, and the ways that they have been studied.

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