Possessing Polynesians: The Science of Settler Colonial Whiteness in Hawai`i and Oceania

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, United States on 2019-12-02 01:21Z by Steven

Possessing Polynesians: The Science of Settler Colonial Whiteness in Hawai`i and Oceania

Duke University Press
November 2019
320 pages
Illustrations: 19 illustrations
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0633-6
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0502-5

Maile Arvin, Assistant Professor of History and Gender Studies
University of Utah

Possessing Polynesians

From their earliest encounters with indigenous Pacific Islanders, white Europeans and Americans asserted an identification with the racial origins of Polynesians, declaring them to be, racially, almost white and speculating that they were of Mediterranean or Aryan descent. In Possessing Polynesians Maile Arvin analyzes this racializing history within the context of settler colonialism across Polynesia, especially in Hawai‘i. Arvin argues that a logic of possession through whiteness animates settler colonialism, through which both Polynesia (the place) and Polynesians (the people) become exotic, feminized belongings of whiteness. Seeing whiteness as indigenous to Polynesia provided white settlers with the justification needed to claim Polynesian lands and resources. Understood as possessions, Polynesians were and continue to be denied the privileges of whiteness. Yet Polynesians have long contested these classifications, claims, and cultural representations, and Arvin shows how their resistance to and refusal of white settler logic have regenerated Indigenous forms of recognition.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Polynesia Is a Project, Not a Place
  • Part I. The Polynesian Problem: Scientific Production of the “Almost White” Polynesian Race
    • 1. Heirlooms of the Aryan Race: Nineteenth-Century Studies of Polynesian Origins
    • 2. Conditionally Caucasian: Polynesian Racial Classification in Early Twentieth-Century Eugenics and Physical Anthropology
    • 3. hating Hawaiians, Celebrating Hybrid Hawaiian Girls: Sociology and the Fictions of Racial Mixture
  • Part II. Regenerative Refusals: Confronting Contemporary Legacies of the Polynesian Problem in Hawai’i and Oceania
    • 4. Still in the Blood: Blood Quantum and Self-Determination in Day v. Apoliona and Federal Recognition
    • 5. The Value of Polynesian DNA: Genomic Solutions to the Polynesian Problems
    • 6. Regenerating Indigeneity: Challenging Possessive Whiteness in Contemporary Pacific Art
  • Conclusion. Regenerating an Oceanic Future in Indigenous Space-Time
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Call for Papers “Mixedness and Indigeneity in the Pacific”

Posted in History, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2019-09-18 01:47Z by Steven

Call for Papers “Mixedness and Indigeneity in the Pacific”

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies

Guest Editors:

Zarine L. Rocha
National University of Singapore

Teena Brown Pulu, Senior Lecturer
Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies

This special issue is seeking papers that address what it means to be mixed–racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically–from indigenous points of view in the Pacific. Indigenous understandings of identity and belonging are crucial in developing and critiquing the current scholarship around mixed race. The nations and territories in the Pacific region, Oceania, encompass diverse ethnic groups and histories affected by different forms and timelines of colonialism, yet the enduring identity is one of indigenous cultures, histories, and languages. Mixedness can be theorized and experienced in different ways and structured in discrete forms of classification and language around mixing and social/cultural acceptance or the stigmatization of certain heritages. As Kukutai and Broman (2016) emphasize, indigenous cultures across the Pacific are by no means homogenous, and historical understandings of race and ethnicity have been influenced by colonial histories. Linnekin and Poyer (1990) suggest that while kinship/community groups have always been essential to indigenous societies, organization along racial/ethnic lines was non-existent prior to colonialism, meaning that understandings of mixedness similarly shifted and changed over time. Writings by Pacific artists and researchers of mixed race, mixed blood, echo and evoke Teresia Teaiwa’s poem:

My identity
is not
a problem
a mystery
a contract
a neophyte
an interest rate

Mixed blood:
And still they ask me HOW?

This special issue explores what mixedness has meant in the Pacific and how it is expressed in, or alongside, present-day identity formations of indigeneity and indigenous conceptions of belonging. What does it mean to be mixed in the Pacific and how does it relate to belonging to a people and place from an indigenous perspective? These papers will provide key theoretical contributions, enriching Critical Mixed Race Studies, shifting away from the dominant (often Western-centric) perspectives, privileging indigenous knowledge, research and histories.

We are looking for context-specific studies situated inside independent states and territories of the Pacific region, Oceania, which can provide a history of intermixing and an in-depth understanding of how mixedness is understood in relation to indigeneity. States and territories of interest include, but are not restricted to: (a) the Melanesian sub-regionTimor-Leste, West Papua, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji; (b) the Polynesian sub-regionTonga, Samoa, American Samoa, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Cook Islands, Niue, French Polynesia; (c) the Micronesian sub-region Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia,Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Nauru, Kiribati.

Feel welcome to submit a brief abstract of your proposed paper (250 words) to JCMRS by October 1, 2019.

Submission Deadline: October 1, 2019

If we accept your abstract, you will be informed of the deadline for submission of your article manuscript, which should should range between 15-30 double-spaced pages, Times New Roman 12-point font, including notes and works cited, must follow the Chicago Manual of Style, as well as include your abstract. Manuscripts will be peer reviewed to determine their suitability for publication.

Please submit your abstract to: rdaniel@soc.ucsb.edu.

Please address all other inquiries to: socjcmrs@soc.ucsb.edu.

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The Mixed Blood in Polynesia

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Oceania on 2011-12-04 03:15Z by Steven

The Mixed Blood in Polynesia

The Journal of the Polynesian Society
Volume 58, Number 2 (June, 1949)
pages 51-57

Ernest Beaglehole
Victoria University College

This paper was prepared as a contribution to a symposium on the position and problems of peoples of mixed blood in the Pacific area held during the Seventh Pacific Science Congress, February, 1949. Other contributors to the symposium discussed the situation in New Zealand and Hawaii. For this reason, though these areas are part of Polynesia, the position of the Maori and Hawaiian mixed bloods are not considered in the present context.

Over the past century and a half race-mixture has been fairly continuous in the Polynesian islands of the Pacific. From the time of their discovery most islands have carried a numerically small alien population which has mixed with the island population. A characteristic frontier society during this period, the alien elements were initially European men—runaway sailors, beachcombers, traders. Only the missionaries brought their wives. The other Europeans mated freely with the hospitable Polynesian islanders. Later intrusive elements were Asiatics, Indians, a few Negroes and a fewT Japanese. With the exception of the Indians, these later-comers also mixed with the indigenous inhabitants. The position today, therefore, is that the population of Polynesia consists of an unknown number of pure-blood Polynesians and an equally unknown number of mixed-bloods. Keesing is of the opinion that at least one-ninth to one-tenth of those who claim pure Polynesian ancestry today are of mixed heredity, and of those who claim to be non-natives, a proportion certainly are of mixed blood.

The number of mixed bloods in Polynesia is difficult to calculate with any accuracy for two reasons. One is the fact that over a century and a half of contact, distant inter-marriages of several generations ago may well have been forgotten, or the intermixture of European blood may have come from passing liaisons which were forgotten as readily…

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‘Our sea of islands’: migration and métissage in contemporary Polynesian writing

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing on 2009-10-31 21:28Z by Steven

‘Our sea of islands’: migration and métissage in contemporary Polynesian writing

International Journal of Francophone Studies
Volume 11, Issue 4 (December 2008)
pages 503-522
DOI: 10.1386/ijfs.11.4.503_1

Michelle Keown, Senior Lecturer of English Literature
University of Edinburgh

This article explores metaphors of oceanic migration in contemporary Polynesian writing, investigating the notion of a regional ‘Oceanic’ identity embraced by a variety of Pacific (and particularly Polynesian) writers and theorists, while also acknowledging the specific historical circumstances and consequences of sea migration within individual Polynesian cultures. Throughout, the essay maintains a multiple temporal focus, identifying the ways in which imagery of the sea – and more specifically the ‘traditional’ Polynesian waka/vaka (voyaging canoe) – has been deployed by Polynesian writers as a chronotope not only of pre-European (and early contact) patterns of migration and cultural exchange within the Pacific, but also of the large-scale migrations of Polynesians to various neighbouring nations since the Second World War. The essay also engages with the complex cultural exchanges brought about by various historical phases of European maritime exploration and settlement in the Pacific, analysing how Polynesian writers explore the effects of intermarriage and cultural contact between Polynesians and Europeans since the late eighteenth century. In investigating these patterns of cross-cultural exchange, the essay adopts the French term ‘métissage’, which, alongside the related concepts of ‘hybridity’ and ‘syncreticity’, denotes genetic and cultural exchanges and intermixing. Drawing upon the work of various postcolonial theorists, the essay examines métissage in the Pacific both at the level of (material) cultural exchange, and within literary texts produced by anglophone and francophone Polynesian writers, particularly those who explicitly identify themselves as of ‘mixed race’.

Read or purchase the article here.

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