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Course Instructor: Jordan Haug

Classroom: JFSB 1053C

Meeting Times: Thursday 9am, 10am, 2pm, and 3pm sections.

Office: KMBL 820

Office Hours: Tue 10:30am-12:30pm, Fri 9:00am-11:00am

Have you ever wanted to know more about Oceania, of the history, people, and cultures of Pacific Island nations? What common stereotypes are your familiar with? This course seeks to develop deeper understanding of Pacific Island cultures.

Course Summary

This course will cover:

  1. The cultural history of Oceania. This will include a survey of the historical record before the arrival of Europeans as well as the contemporary cultural complexity of Oceania. We will be covering cultures ranging from Polynesia, Micronesia, to Melanesia, as well as discussing the relative weaknesses of these categories.
  2. The political challenges facing the region. We will be discussing issues of cultural heritage, climate change, and development that become major themes in contemporary political struggles in the region.
  3. Indigenous literature by Pasifika writers. We will be reading and discussing literature written by Pasifika writers that highlight some of the pressing concerns for contemporary Pacific Islanders.
  4. Issues of indigenity and diaspora. This course will explore the dual issues of mobility and stability in how Pacific Islanders continue voyages throughout the world while maintaining their cultural heritage.

Course Learning Objectives

Students will learn how to:

  1. Use holistic anthropological insights in learning to appreciate the complex and living body of indigenous knowledge from Oceania.
  2. Critically assess representations of Pacific Island cultures in popular media.
  3. Develop critical reasoning skills through writing and group discussions.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Information” tab_id=”1527623588361-e1e6c1d6-f093″][vc_column_text]Required Text (3 books)

Coursework Standards

Please read the newsletter guide, “How to Build a Class Schedule,” which states that “BYU expects students to spend at least 2 hours doing work outside of class” per credit hour. This means you should usually be spending at least 6 hours outside of lecture doing course work for a three credit course. Because we are only meeting as sections for only 1 hour a week, and this is till a 3 credit course, you’re expected to spend even more time working on course work outside of the seminar meeting times for this class. You’ll likely be spending at least 8 hours a week on coursework outside of the lecture.

Seminar Readings and Due Dates

Many of the assignments in the course use Persuall for text annotation. Please watch the following video for advice on how to annotate a text. In addition to your usual text annotation, you should be asking at least 5 questions and answering at least 2 questions in your Perusall comments. Please review the following video for suggestions on how to annotate a text. Late assignments will be accepted, but the grade will be automatically reduced by a whole letter grade per day after the due date.

Class Participation

You’re expected to attend one section meeting every Thursday. During that section seminar we’ll be discussing the assigned text together. Please come prepared to pose and answer questions. You’ll receive credit for your participation during the seminar, and at the end of each seminar I’ll pose a question that will not be provided on Learning Suite. In the exam posted that afternoon (at 4pm) you’ll have the opportunity to self-grade your preparation for the seminar and answer the question I provided at the end of the seminar.


Please message me directly through Learning Suite. When composing emails/messages, please follow the instructions from this useful guide. If you do not follow those instructions, I will not respond to your emails. Awaiting my response is never an excuse for not completing the assignments as described in the syllabus. When in doubt, check the syllabus.

Accessibility and Academic Accommodations

Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (UAC), 2170 WSC or 422-2767. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified, documented disabilities. The UAC can also assess students for learning, attention, and emotional concerns. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures by contacting the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895, D-285 ASB.

Mental Health

Mental health concerns and stressful life events can affect students’ academic performance and quality of life. BYU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, 1500 WSC, 801-422-3035, caps.byu.edu) provides individual, couples, and group counseling, as well as stress management services. These services are confidential and are provided by the university at no cost for full-time students. For general information please visit https://caps.byu.edu; for more immediate concerns please visit http://help.byu.edu.

Preventing Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment-including sexual violence-committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of “Sexual Misconduct” prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at [email protected] or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

Sensitive Subjects

The study of anthropology may address potentially sensitive topics that a broad range of people face throughout the world. These topics may include issues relating to gender inequalities, human sexuality, and maturation. Sensitive topics may include issues relating to gender identities, sexuality, body modification, and climate change, etc. While I will try to guide us through these topics in a careful manner, it is important to recognize that the discussion of these topics is central to understanding anthropological perspectives on kinship and gender. Constructive participation in these discussions means respectful engagement with the issues and sensitivity to how these discussions may impact fellow students. I will be respectful as well. However, recent research has confirmed that the use of “trigger-warnings” can actually be harmful to people, especially those dealing with trauma. I believe issues should challenge us and confronting many of the disturbing aspects of the human experience is essential for understanding human cultural diversity.

Some of you may find yourselves strongly disagreeing with some of the arguments we’ll be reading in this class. I do not expect, or want, you to agree with every author; however, I do expect you consider the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments carefully. Doing so is essential for strengthening your own convictions. John Stuart Mills, perhaps, said it best, “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion” (On Liberty [1859], Ch. 2). You are free to disagree with any perspective offered in the assigned readings, by me, or another student, however, you must do so in a respectful manner. Please remember that appeals from authority are defeasible, and if used without supporting evidence, other than the authority itself, they are formally fallacious. Do not engage in competing appeals from authority without supporting evidence. If you fail to treat the course material, myself, or another student respectfully and thoughtfully (providing questions and comments in good faith), I will invite you to attend class no longer. Missed participation points are not recoverable.


Intentional plagiarism is a form of intellectual theft that violates widely recognized principles of academic integrity as well as the Honor Code. Such plagiarism may subject the student to appropriate disciplinary action administered through the university Honor Code Office, in addition to academic sanctions that may be applied by an instructor. Inadvertent plagiarism, which may not be a violation of the Honor Code, is nevertheless a form of intellectual carelessness that is unacceptable in the academic community. Plagiarism of any kind is completely contrary to the established practices of higher education where all members of the university are expected to acknowledge the original intellectual work of others that is included in their own work. In some cases, plagiarism may also involve violations of copyright law. Intentional Plagiarism-Intentional plagiarism is the deliberate act of representing the words, ideas, or data of another as one’s own without providing proper attribution to the author through quotation, reference, or footnote. Inadvertent Plagiarism-Inadvertent plagiarism involves the inappropriate, but non-deliberate, use of another’s words, ideas, or data without proper attribution. Inadvertent plagiarism usually results from an ignorant failure to follow established rules for documenting sources or from simply not being sufficiently careful in research and writing. Although not a violation of the Honor Code, inadvertent plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct for which an instructor can impose appropriate academic sanctions. Students who are in doubt as to whether they are providing proper attribution have the responsibility to consult with their instructor and obtain guidance. Examples of plagiarism include: Direct Plagiarism-The verbatim copying of an original source without acknowledging the source. Paraphrased Plagiarism-The paraphrasing, without acknowledgement, of ideas from another that the reader might mistake for the author’s own. Plagiarism Mosaic-The borrowing of words, ideas, or data from an original source and blending this original material with one’s own without acknowledging the source. Insufficient Acknowledgement-The partial or incomplete attribution of words, ideas, or data from an original source. Plagiarism may occur with respect to unpublished as well as published material. Copying another student’s work and submitting it as one’s own individual work without proper attribution is a serious form of plagiarism.


The grade scale is the following– A: 940-1100; A-: 900-929; B+: 870-899; B: 830-869; B-: 800-829; C+: 770-799; C: 730-769; C-: 700-729; D+: 670-699; D: 630-669; and D-: 600-629.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Schedule” tab_id=”1527623779727-9cf68d03-b218″][vc_column_text]Sep 5 (R)- Seminar: Introduction- Syllabus

  • Read: Diver, C. (2018, Jun. 5). “Why the Pacific matters.” Devpolicy Blog.
  • Brunt, P. and N. Thomas (2018). “Oceania Redux.” In P. Brunt and N. Thomas, eds., Oceania, Pp. 20-35. London: Royal Academy of Arts.
  • Watch: Siagatonu, T. (2015, Dec. 10). Atlas. Fast for Climate[3 mins].
  • Watch: Nu’utupu-Giles, W. (2015, Oct. 2). Prescribed Fire. Button Poetry[3 mins].
  • Watch: Jetñil-Kijiner, K. and D. Lin (2018, Apr. 15). Anointed. Pacific Storytellers Cooperative [6 mins].
  • Watch: Jetñil-Kijiner, K. (2017, Sep. 25). Monster. United For Peace Film Festival [5mins].

Sep 12 (R)- Seminar: Pacific Values

  • Read: Teaiwa, K. (2018). Our Rising Sea of Islands: Pan-Pacific Regionalism in the Age of Climate Change. Pacific Studies 41(1/2): 26-54.
  • Read: Robbins, J. (2018). Anthropology Between Europe and the Pacific: Values and the Prospects for a Relationship Beyond Relativism. Pacific Studies41(1/2): 97-116.
  • Read: Albeck-Ripka, L. (2019, May 12). Their Islands Are Being Eroded. So Are Their Human Rights, They Say. New York Times.
  • Watch: Jetñil-Kijiner, K. (2014, Sep. 24). “Dear Matafele Peinem.” UN Climate Summit [3 mins].
  • Watch: Jetñil-Kijiner, K. and A. Niviâna (2018). Rise: From One Island to Another. The Guardian [6 mins].

Sep 19 (R)- Seminar: Debating Gender and Sexuality

  • Read: Selections from King, C. (2019). Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century. New York: Doubleday.

Sep 26 (R)- Seminar: Ancestral and Contemporary Voyaging

  • Read: Chapters 1-4 of Kirch, P.V. (2012). A Shark Going Inland Is My Chief: The Island Civilization of Ancient Hawai’i. University of Calfornia Press.
  • Watch: “Reconstructing culture through language.” ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language [4.5 mins].
  • Watch: Tamayose, A and S. De Silva (2017, Oct. 17). How did Polynesian wayfinders navigate the Pacific Ocean? TEDed [5.5 mins].

Oct 3 (R)- Seminar: In Pele’s Islands

  • Read: Chapters 7-10 of Kirch, P.V. (2012). A Shark Going Inland Is My Chief: The Island Civilization of Ancient Hawai’i. University of Calfornia Press.

Oct 10 (R)- Seminar: The Realm of the Feathered Gods

  • Read: Chapters 11-14 of Kirch, P.V. (2012). A Shark Going Inland Is My Chief: The Island Civilization of Ancient Hawai’i. University of Calfornia Press.

Oct 17 (R)- Seminar: The End of Captain Cook

  • Read: Sahlins, M. (1985). Islands of History, Pp. 1-31, 104-135. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Read: Hacking, I. (1999). “The End of Captain Cook.” In The Social Construction of What?, Pp. 209-223. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Oct 24 (R)- Seminar: The Cosmology of Power

  • Read: Shore, B. (1989). “Mana and Tapu.” In Developments in Polynesian Ethnology, eds. A. Howard and R. Borofsky, Pp. 137-173. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  • Gell, Alfred, (1995). “Closure and multiplication: an essay on Polynesian Cosmology and Ritual.” In D. de Coppet and A. Iteanu, eds., Cosmos and Society in Oceania, Pp. 21-53. Oxford: Berg.

Oct 31 (R)- Seminar: The Tā-Vā Theory of Sociospatial Relations

  • Read: Ka’li, T.O. (2017). Tāvani Interwining Tā and Vā in Tongan Reality and Philology. Pacific Studies 40(1/2): 62-78.
  • Read: Van der Ryn, F.M. (2017). Samoan Tā-Vā (Time-Space) Concepts and Practices in Language, Society, and Architecture. Pacific Studies 40(1/2): 212-244.
  • Refiti, A.L. (2017). How the Tā-Vā Theory of Reality Constructs a Spatial Exposition of Samoan Architecture. Pacific Studies 40(1/2): 267-288.

Nov 5 (T)- Seminar: Oral Tradition and Myth

  • Read: Māhina, O. (1993). The poetics of tongan traditional history, tala‐ē‐fonua: An Ecology‐Centred Concept of Culture and History. Journal of Pacific History 28(1): 109-121.
  • Read: Kirch, P.V. (2018). Voices on the Wind, Traces in the Earth: Integrating Oral Narrative and Archaeology in Polynesian History. Journal of the Polynesian Society 127(3): 275-306.

Nov 7 (R)- Seminar: Prophecy and Sacrifice

  • Read: Chapters 15-17 of Kirch, P.V. (2012). A Shark Going Inland Is My Chief: The Island Civilization of Ancient Hawai’i. University of Calfornia Press.

Nov 14 (R)- Seminar: Custom and Sovereignty

  • Read: Keesing, R. (1989). Creating the Past: Custom and Identity in the Pacific. The Contemporary Pacific 1(2): 19-42.
  • Read: Trask, H.K. & R.M. Keesing (1991). Natives and Anthropologists: The Colonial Struggle [including reply]. The Contemporary Pacific 3(1):159-171.
  • Read: Mallon, S. (2016 [2010]). Why we should beware of the word ‘traditional’. Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand.
  • Watch: Keali’i, D. (2013, Sep. 25). Origins (Hā) [2 mins].
  • Watch: Nu’utupu-Giles, W. and Travis T. (2015, Dec. 23). Oral Traditions. Button Poetry [3 mins].

Nov 21 (R)- NO SEMINAR: AAA Conference

Nov 28 (R)- NO SEMINAR: Thanksgiving Break

Dec 5 (R)- Seminar: Indigenous Anthropology in Tonga, P.1

  • Gell, A. (1992). “The Technology of Enchantment and the Enchantment of Technology.” In J. Coote & A. Shelton, eds., Anthropology, Art and Aesthetics, Pp. 40-66. Oxford: Clarendon.
  • Skinner, D. & L. Bolton (2012). “Continuity and Change in Customary Arts.” In P. Brunt, et al., eds., Art in Oceania: A New History, Pp. 466-497. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Dec 12 (R)- Seminar: Indigenous Anthropology in Moana

  • Lindstrom, L. (2018). “Cargo Cults.” In F. Stein, et al., The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology. http://doi.org/10.29164/18cargo
  • Lindstrom, L. (2011). “Personhood, cargo, and Melanesian social unities.” In E. Hviding & K. Rio, Made in Oceania: social movements, cultural heritage and the state in the Pacific, Pp. 253-73. Wantage: Sean Kingston Publishing.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Assignments” tab_id=”1527624097128-b0a6684a-8f7d”][vc_column_text]

  1. Review of A Shark Going Inland Is My Chief (Nov. 14; 160 points).
  2. Review of Waiting for John (Dec. 18; 160 points).

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Films” tab_id=”1564102514029-5ba7a02d-6b90″][vc_column_text]Choose which assignments you want to complete. All film reviews are due on December 19th.

  1. The New Oceania (25 points).
  2. Moana Mythology (25 points).
  3. In Football We Trust (10 points).
  4. Protectors (25 points).
  5. Climate Refugees (35 points).
  6. Marks of Mana (20 points).