Faculty of Arts


Pacific Studies

Please note: this is archived course information from 2019 for PACIFIC 200.


Covering a vast expanse of the globe, the Pacific Islands and Ocean is an area of interconnected regional societies and identities. In this course, we build students’ core knowledge by introducing key debates and interdisciplinary methods, drawing on different media and texts produced within and outside the Pacific. 

In approaching the region as the global Pacific, we learn about local issues and challenges within a global context, including those of its peoples, transnationalism and globalisation, government and economy, health, wellbeing and climate.

Through the political writings of Bernard Narokobi, the poetry of Konai Helu Thaman and Teresia Teaiwa, the satire of Epeli Hau’ofa, the philosophical writings of Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and the fiction of Albert Wendt, among others, we test the depth and breadth of the currents of Pacific thought. 

In the last part of the course, case studies highlight the localised and global aspects of current debates. For example, in our study of Disney’s Moana and Pacific scholar Vilsoni Hereniko’s Moana, we examine representation of the Pacific by the corporate culture industry and indigenous artistic productions, with consideration of wider debates about cultural appropriation. 

The case of Mauna Kea and the Thirty Meter Telescope highlights visions of development and land use across the Pacific, including the treatment of sacred sites and the way Pacific islands have been used to advance scientific projects. 

Grounded in the poetry of Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, we build our understanding of climate change, its specific and pressing impacts on Pacific societies and activism by organisations like 350 Pacific. 

In the last weeks of the course, student-led research groups choose and develop their own projects on current critical debates, employing methods and approaches they have learned and extending their own knowledge of the contemporary Pacific.

View the course syllabus

Availability 2019

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Dr Lisa Uperesa


PACIFIC 200: 15.0 points


PACIFIC 100 or 45 points in BGlobalSt courses

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