Our Sea of Islands

Michelle Keown and Stuart Murray

in The Oxford Handbook of Postcolonial Studies

Published in print September 2013 | ISBN: 9780199588251
Published online December 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Our Sea of Islands

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This chapter analyses the Pacific, understood here as a cluster of island communities that includes Australia and New Zealand, as a cross-cultural space in which questions of regionalism, globalization, settlement (in terms of both national identities and indigenous presence), and multilingualism produce a uniquely contested collection of cultures. The Pacific Ocean was central to European formations of modernity from the eighteenth century onwards, and its subsequent history has made it a quintessentially postcolonial space. The chapter addresses the central issues that dominate the region, from the islands as a site of adventure to the politics of indigenous claims, and from tourism to nuclear testing. Although generalizations about so vast a territory are by definition difficult, the various manifestations of politics, society and culture produced in the Pacific provide a vibrant example of the postcolonial in action.

Keywords: Oceania; indigeneity; settlement; diaspora; multilingualism

Article.  9929 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature)

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