The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 23, no. 2 (2011)

Contemporary Pacific 23-2 CoverThe Pacific Islands, v

About the Artist: Solomon Enos, vii


Fleeting Substantiality: The Samoan Giant in US Popular Discourse
April K Henderson, 269

Abstract: In this article I draw examples from the broader terrain of academic and popular literature, news media, television, and film to explore questions regarding representations of Samoans, and especially Samoan men, in the United States. The mediated accessibility of Samoans, via televised sports and entertainment, combines with their relative geographic and demographic inaccessibility to produce popular images of a population that the vast majority of Americans know very little about. Such representations are gendered in particular ways, such that the archetypal Samoan body in US popular discourse is now masculine, rather than feminine. I discuss how popular representations of Samoan men may be similar to representations of black men—the latter so central to discourses of race in the United States—as well as how are they different, particularly in light of the discursively slippery histories of representing Pacific peoples as both noble and ignoble “savages.” The main narrative component of discourses about Samoan men, body size, is critically engaged; additionally, the article argues that the added element of (indigenous) culture—thought to be outside or anterior to Western modernity—grant to Samoans an exoticness not normally granted to black Americans. This essay attempts to expose, engage, and examine these active processes of representation and myth creation—what visual theorist Clyde Taylor might term mythogenesis—to better understand the discursive terrain that Samoans negotiate, often ambivalently, in the United States.
Keywords: Samoan, Pacific Islander, representation, masculinity, sports, stereotype, popular culture

Churches and the Economy of Sāmoa
Cluny Macpherson and La‘avasa Macpherson, 304

Abstract: Christian churches have assumed a central role in the social, economic, and political life of Sāmoa. Samoans are intensely committed to religion and express this commitment in participation in, and support for, the work of the churches. This article makes no comment on the rights of churches to seek contributions from their adherents, or of adherents to make contributions. However, the cash and labor contributed to churches has economic and social consequences for the trajectory of both village and national development. This article presents a profile of these contributions, a preliminary estimate of the scale of contributions to the Church, and an evaluation of the significance of these levels of support for the Church for Samoan village and national economies. The article also considers the sustainability of the trends outlined and some evidence of shifts in these historical patterns.
Keywords: Sāmoa, churches, economic development, village development,
national development, remittances


Māori Studies, Past and Present: A Review
Michael P J Reilly, 340

Abstract: This paper examines the development of Māori studies since it was first taught as an academic subject at Auckland University in 1952. While retaining a strong focus on language learning, Māori studies increasingly includes other culturebased subjects. It espouses theories and methodologies that empower Māori communities and critique Eurocentric scholarship, such as kaupapa Māori. Māori studies is described as mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), although iwi (tribalbased) wānanga (colleges of learning) argue they are the appropriate repositories. Wānanga, teaching specific iwi knowledge, complement the generalizing Māori studies, which challenges Western universities from within. New Zealand’s universities are developing Treaty of Waitangi–based relationships with Māori communities, and with their own Māori staff and students. However, Māori intellectual practices within Western university disciplines remain contested. Here Māori studies can help support Māori scholarship in the wider institution. Māori studies looks outward to indigenous and Pacific studies, all concerned to rebalance the effects of colonization and explore interdisciplinary spaces. Māori and Pacific studies share a common ancestry and cultural world of language and metaphor. Although frequently separated institutionally, with some Māori studies programs focusing exclusively on Māori, others embrace Pacific studies as equal partners. Māori studies instructs nonindigenous or Pākehā students, but many contest their teaching or research function. Others argue for bicultural research models incorporating Pākehā or nonindigenous researchers and enabling mutually respectful and beneficial relationships in place of a Māori/Pākehā binary opposition, a position acknowledging researchers with shared cultural affiliations.
Keywords: Māori studies, kaupapa Māori, mātauranga Māori, indigenous studies, Pacific studies, wānanga, nonindigenous researchers

The Islands Have Memory: Reflections on Two Collaborative Projects in Contemporary Oceania
Guido Carlo Pigliasco and Thorolf Lipp, 371

Abstract: More than two decades ago, Marshall Sahlins reminded us that Oceania’s Islands have a history. They also have a memory. Anthropologists and other social researchers often deal with the problem how to actively turn orally transmitted memories into written or audiovisual representations. But in fact, researchers are much more involved than that: they become part of the Islands’ cultural memory due to their actions—what they do and do not do. European anthropologists Guido Carlo Pigliasco and Thorolf Lipp re-propose a series of reflections on opportunities and challenges of “doing culture” in collaboration with indigenous counterparts.
Keywords: doing culture, memory, collaboration, visual representation, cultural media, indigenous heritage, applied anthropology

Where Has All the Music Gone? Reflections on the Fortieth Anniversary of Fiji’s Independence
Brij V Lal, 412

Abstract: Fiji’s postcolonial journey has been fraught. The promise of prosperity and political stability, high at the time of independence in 1970, dissipated soon afterward as the politics of ethnicity came to the fore and as disagreements developed among indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians about the nature and direction of public policy. A military coup in 1987 removed a democratically elected government, but instead of ensuring the entrenchment of Fijian political control, it unleashed forces whose ultimate effect was the undermining of Fijian political unity. Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s coup in 2006 removed from power an indigenous Fijian–led government, promising in the process to overturn the assumptions and understandings about power sharing that underpinned the understandings and assumptions that were embedded in the Independence constitution and to lead the country towards a non-racial future. The reaction to the latest coup from Fiji’s different communities remains a matter of intense debate in the country.
Keywords: Fiji, independence, military coup, land problems, emigration, Fijian diaspora, constitution making


The Region in Review: International Issues and Events, 2010
Nic Maclellan, 440

Melanesia in Review: Issues and Events, 2010
David Chappell, Jon Fraenkel, Solomon Kantha, Gordon Leua Nanau, Howard Van Trease, Muridan S Widjojo, 456


Legendary Hawai‘i and the Politics of Place: Tradition, Translation, and Tourism, by Cristina Bacchilega
Reviewed by Karen K Kosasa, 532

A Bird that Flies with Two Wings: Kastom and State Justice Systems in Vanuatu, by Miranda Forsyth
Reviewed by Peter Larmour, 534

Sin, Sex and Stigma: A Pacific Response to HIV and AIDS, by Lawrence
James Hammar
Reviewed by Christopher A J L Little, 537

Militarized Currents: Toward a Decolonized Future in Asia and the Pacific, edited by Setsu Shigematsu and Keith L Camacho
Reviewed by Kathy E Ferguson, 539

Looking North, Looking South: China, Taiwan, and the South Pacific, edited by Anne-Marie Brady
Reviewed by Nic Maclellan, 541

Ña Noniep and Yokwe Bartowe [feature films]
Reviewed by Rich Carr, 544

Towards a Theology of the Chamoru: Struggle and Liberation in Oceania, by Jonathan Blas Diaz
Reviewed by Francis X Hezel, SJ, 548