The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 20, no. 1 (2008): Re-membering Oceanic Masculinities

TCP 20.1 cover imageSpecial Issue: Re-membering Oceanic Masculinities
Guest-edited by Margaret Jolly

About the Artist: Carl F K Pao, ix
The Pacific Islands, x


Moving Masculinities: Memories and Bodies Across Oceania
Margaret Jolly, 1

Past studies of Oceanic masculinities have tended to see masculinity in the singular, through the lens of unchanging cultural traditions, wherein types of men were iconic of cultural differences. This special issue considers masculinities in the plural, both within and between cultures, exploring the relations between hegemonic and subordinate masculinities and how masculinities are configured in the context of colonial histories, militarism, and globalization. It connects a historical and relational approach to masculinities to embodied experience and individual and collective memories across the diversity of Oceania.
Keywords: masculinities, Oceania, histories, bodies, sexualities, militarism, colonialism

Re-membering Panalā‘au: Masculinities, Nation, and Empire in Hawai‘i and the Pacific
Ty P Kāwika Tengan, 27

Between 1935 and 1942, over one hundred thirty young, mostly Native Hawaiian men (later known as the Hui Panalā‘au) “colonized” five small islands in the Equatorial Pacific as employees of the US Departments of Commerce and Interior. Students and alumni from the Kamehameha Schools served exclusively in the first year, and their experiences largely structured the ways that the project was represented at the time and would be remembered later in a 2002 Bishop Museum exhibit. In this essay, I examine the ways that the bodies and memories of the Kamehameha colonists became fertile grounds for re-membering masculinities, a type of gendered memory work that facilitates the formation of group subjectivities through the coordination of personal memories, historical narratives, and bodily experiences and representations. The colonists embodied a Hawaiian-American masculinity that allowed a wide range of interlocutors and audiences to make (sometimes divergent) claims to racialized citizenship and gendered belonging. Their experiences spoke to the predicament of Hawaiian men working in and against US colonialism, and thus they enabled a collective re-membering of Hawaiian masculinities that helped counter notions of Hawaiian men’s laziness, marginality, and absence, both in the political economy of the territory and the present-day movements for self-determination and decolonization.
Keywords: masculinities, colonialism, militarism, nationalism, memory, embodiment, Hawai‘i

“The Martial Islands”: Making Marshallese Masculinities between American and Japanese Militarism
Greg Dvorak, 55

For over a century, the Marshall Islands have been entangled between the United States and Japan in their conquest of the Central Pacific; yet because of this, these islands have also been a place where multiple masculinities have converged, competed, and transformed each other. This is especially true around the site of Kwajalein Atoll, where terrain understood in Marshallese terms as female or maternal has been reshaped and masculinized through the semiotics of colonialism and militarization. This article focuses specifically on three local representations of masculinity: the knowledgeable but strategic Marshallese “Etao,” symbolized by a creative and resourceful male trickster spirit; the heroic but paternalistic American “Patriot,” as enacted via the perpetual battlefield of military and weapons-testing missions; and the adventurous but self-sacrificing “Dankichi,” deployed in Japan during the 1930s and echoed nowadays in the long-distance tuna-fishing industry. Cross-reading Judith Butler and R W Connell, this is an exploration of the “theater” of these masculinities in relationship to one another, and the story of how different superpowers strive for domination by emasculating a third colonial site and its subjects.
Keywords: masculinities, Marshall Islands, Kwajalein Atoll, gender, America, Japan, Pacific War

Hui Nalu, Beachboys, and the Surfing Boarder-lands of Hawai‘i
Isaiah Helekunihi Walker, 89

In this article I argue that the Hawaiian conceptual, cultural, and physical space called po‘ina nalu (surf zone) was a borderland (or boarder-land) where colonial hegemony was less effectual and Hawaiian resistance continuous. Through the history of Hawaiian surfing clubs, specifically the Hui Nalu and the Waikīkī beachboys, Hawaiian male surfers both subverted colonial discourses—discourses that represented most Hawaiian men as passive, unmanly, and nearly invisible—and confronted political haole (white) elites who overthrew Hawai‘i’s Native government in the late 1800s. My ultimate conclusion is that the ocean surf was a place where Hawaiian men negotiated masculine identities and successfully resisted colonialism.
Keywords: Hawai‘i, history, masculinity, surfi ng, borderlands, resistance

The Death of Koro Paka: “Traditional” Māori Patriarchy
Brendan Hokowhitu, 115

This article is underpinned by the simple question of what knowledge is produced about Māori men and why. In particular, it deconstructs the invention, authentication, and re-authentication of “traditional” Māori patriarchy. It begins by examining how Māori patriarchy was invented and authenticated through the hybridization of Māori and British masculine cultures, especially through the early colonial education of a select few Māori boys, who were subjects of a British public schooling technique. The article draws from this historical analysis to demonstrate how Māori patriarchy continues to be authenticated in today’s popular culture. Here, the contemporary re-authentication of Māori patriarchy is drawn attention to through a deconstruction of the film Whale Rider. This film analysis argues that Whale Rider deploys a dangerous conflation of representation and reality, which ultimately re-authenticates the invented tradition of Māori patriarchy. The article is less concerned with denouncing particular tropes of Māori men as “false” and more with how such “truths” have come to be privileged; it also seeks to uncloak the processes that produce Māori masculine subjectivities.
Keywords: Māori, masculinity, patriarchy, film, Whale Rider, sport, rugby

Globalizing Drag in the Cook Islands: Friction, Repulsion, and Abjection
Kalissa Alexeyeff, 143

Male to female cross-dressing and performing have a long indigenous history in the Cook Islands. In recent years, Western-style drag shows have also been included in the Cook Islands cross-dressing repertoire. This article takes the highly cosmopolitan vehicle of the drag show and uses it to track the relationship between local and global models of gender and sexuality. It examines ways in which the iconography of domesticity and motherhood has been used to signify an uneasy relationship between local and global ideas of sexuality and gender.
Keywords: globalization, gender, sexuality, performance, Cook Islands

Contending Masculinities and the Limits of Tolerance: Sexual Minorities in Fiji
Nicole George, 163

Despite the fact that Fiji is one of only a handful of states to have given constitutional recognition to the rights of sexual minorities in its most recent constitution enacted in 1998, controversy over the issue of individual sexual orientation, and powerful condemnation of those who choose to publicly demonstrate a homosexual or transgender identity, has flourished in the public domain. The focus on male homosexuality has been predominant in this debate, with many influential political actors framing discourses of masculinity in ways that affirm Christian ideals of morality while also reinforcing the Christian Church’s normative political authority. However, as this article demonstrates, public discourses of masculinity have also been articulated in a highly selective manner. This becomes clear when public debate that construes homosexuality in Fiji as a threat to the integrity of the country’s key social institutions is contrasted with some church and political leaders’ far more lenient responses to the forms of violent and lawless masculine behavior that predominated during the 2000 coup. While these developments have increased the political and social vulnerability of Fiji’s homosexuals, young gay men have also employed strategies that contest mainstream discriminatory attitudes. In this article, I describe how the terrain of sexual minority politics is configured in ways that authorize certain varieties of masculine behavior and subordinate others, and consider the strategies deployed by local gay males to contest homophobic sentiments articulated in the public domain.
Keywords: masculinities, homosexuality, nationalism, Christianity, Fiji


Micronesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007
John R Haglelgam, Kelly G Marsh, Samuel F McPhetres, Donald R Shuster, 192

Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007
Frédéric Angleviel, Lorenz Gonschor, Jon Tikivanotau, M Jonassen, Margaret Mutu, Bikenibeu Paeniu, Unasa L F Va‘a, 216


Imagining the Other: The Representation of the Papua New Guinea Subject, by Regis Tove Stella
Reviewed by Eugene Ogan, 258

Yali’s Question: Sugar, Culture, and History, by Frederick Errington and Deborah Gewertz
Reviewed by James Leach, 260

British Documents on the End of Empire. Series B, Volume 10: Fiji, edited by Brij V Lal
Reviewed by Robert Norton, 262

The Nose Flute Breathes Again, with Calvin Rore [compact disc]
Reviewed by Brian Diettrich, 265

The Canoe is the People: Indigenous Navigation in the Pacific [cd-rom]
Reviewed by Joseph Genz, 266

Traditional Medicine of the Marshall Islands: The Women, the Plants, the Treatments, by Irene J Taafaki, Maria Kabua Fowler, and Randolph R Thaman
Reviewed by Nancy J Pollock, 268

Dobu: Ethics of Exchange on a Massim Island, Papua New Guinea, by Susanne Kuehling
Reviewed by Will Rollason, 270

Redefining the Pacific? Regionalism Past, Present and Future, edited by Jenny Bryant-Tokalau and Ian Frazer
Reviewed by Nic Maclellan, 272

Strangers in the South Seas: The Idea of the Pacific in Western Thought; An Anthology, edited by Richard Lansdown
Reviewed by Rainer F Buschmann, 275

Island Affinities: Contemporary Art of Oceania [exhibition]
Reviewed by Adria L Imada, 277

Coaxing the Spirits to Dance: Art and Society in the Papuan Gulf of New Guinea [exhibition]
Reviewed by Haidy Geismar, 280

Power and Taboo: Sacred Objects from the Eastern Pacific. Pasifika Styles. Pacific Encounters: Art and Divinity in Polynesia [exhibitions]
Reviewed by Rosanna Raymond, 283