Course Instructor: Jordan Haug

Classroom hours: MWF 2pm-3:50am, CB 202

Office Hours: By appointment

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.

Required Text (3 books)

  • Ka’ili, T.O. (2017). Marking Indigeneity: The Tongan Art of Sociospatial Relations. Tucson: University of Arizona Press [$50 hardcover, $48 kindle].
  • Hau’ofa, E. (1994 [1984]). Tales of the Tikongs. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i of Press [$12 paperback].
  • Schram, R. (2018). Harvests, Feasts, and Graves: Postcultural Consciousness in Contemporary Papua New Guinea. Ithaca: Cornell University Press [$28 paperback or kindle].

Coursework Standards

Please review Utah Valley University’s “Academic Policies and Standards.” You will be tested on your knowledge of these standards for out of classroom workload per credit hour.

Seminar Readings

Each seminar will have required readings or videos marketed with bullet points. Besides the required text (see above), all other readings will be provided through Canvas. Readings or videos preceded with a “suggested” title are make available only if students are interested in pursuing the subject further on their own. The lectures may draw from suggested readings, but students will not be tested on the material only given in the suggested readings.

Note Taking

Please refrain from using laptops, tablets, or smartphones during class. This is because many studies. have found that allowing laptops, tablets, or smartphones in a classroom drastically effects the learning environment of all students, not just the ones using the technology. Content comprehension and memory retention are also drastically improved if you use a pen or pencil and a simple pad of paper to take notes on during class seminars. You will be tested on the content discussed in the following videos.

If you are unable to take notes without a computer, please let me know. I’ll try my best to accommodate you. However, if I notice any inappropriate use of technology during class, only students with notes from the accessibility office will be allowed to use electronics in class.

Assignment Instructions

More thorough instructions concerning assignments will be given in class. If you have questions about an assignment, please ask for clarifications during class. You will need to attend the course lectures if you want thorough instructions for each assignment.

Class Participation

There are few students enrolled in this course, therefore, it is absolutely essential that you attend and participate in discussions. Full participation points will be awarded according to the frequency of attendance and participation in class discussions. We’ll discuss during the seminar exactly what those standards may be. Participation in the course is worth 60 points.


Please email me directly at When composing emails follow the instructions from this useful guide. If you do not follow those instructions, I will not respond to your emails. During weekdays, I will make my best effort to respond to emails. However, awaiting my response is never an excuse for not completing assignments described in the syllabus. When in doubt, check the syllabus.

Accessibility and Academic Accommodations

If you have a disability and require accommodations in this class, please see me as soon as possible. If you have not already done so, please contact the Accessibility Services Department MS 190 at 801-863-8747 or to request accommodations and provide appropriate documentation. Requests for appointments must be made a week in advance. Students who believe they have been denied program access or otherwise discriminated against because of a disability are encouraged to initiate a grievance by contacting the Accessibility Services Director, Pola Morrison at 801-863-8747. Please consult the Accessibility Services Department for more information. for more information on services and scheduling appointments.

Point Distribution and Late Assignments

Below is a breakdown of the points available in the course. Late assignments will be accepted, but the grade will be automatically reduced by a whole letter grade. There is no time limit on accepting late assignments, but they are also considered late immediately after the assigned time they are due.

  • Quiz: Week 1 (40 points, due July 2nd at 2pm).
  • Syllabus Quiz (20 points, due July 2nd at 2pm).
  • Quiz: Week 2 (40 points, due July 9th at 2pm).
  • Assignment: Anthropological Controversies (100 points, due July 16th at 2pm).
  • Quiz: Week 3 (80 points, due July 16th at 2pm).
  • Quiz: Week 4 (30 points, due July 20th at 2pm).
  • Assignment: Articulating and Marking Indigenity (200 points, July 30th at 2pm)
  • Discussion: “The Good Life” (40 points, due Aug. 3rd at midnight).
  • Discussion: Tales of the Tikongs (60 points, due Aug. 3rd at 2pm).
  • Discussion: PNG literature (20 points, due Aug. 6th at 2pm).
  • Discussion: One or two of the optional discussions (40 points each, due Aug. 10th at midnight).
  • Assignment: Film Review (100 points, due Aug. 10th at midnight).
  • Assignment: Final paper on Harvests, Feasts, and Graves (150 points, due Aug. 10th at midnight).
  • Class Participation (60 points).


The grade scale is the following– A: 930-1000; 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.


Jun 25 (M)- Seminar: Introduction- Syllabus

  • 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].
  • Diver, C. (2018, Jun. 5). “Why the Pacific matters.” Devpolicy Blog.
  • Suggested: Wendt, A. (1982). “Towards a New Oceania.” In Writers in East-West Encounter: New Cultural Bearings, ed. G. Amirthanayagam, Pp. 202-215. London: Macmillan.

June 27 (W)- Seminar: Our Sea of Islands

  • Hau’ofa, E. (1993). “Our Sea of Islands.” In A New Oceania: Rediscovering Our Sea of Islands, ed. E. Waddell, et al., Pp. 2-16. Suva: University of South Pacific.
  • Hau’ofa, E. (1998). The Ocean in Us. The Contemporary Pacific 10(2): 392–410.
  • Teaiwa, K.M. (2014). “Reframing Oceania: Lessons from Pacific Studies.” In Framing the Global: Entry Points for Research, eds. H.E. Kahn, Pp. 67-96. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Watch: Keali’i, D. (2013, Sep. 25). Origins (Hā).
  • See supplementary materials.

June 29 (F)- Seminar: Political Types

  • Sahlins, M. (1963). Poor Man, Rich Man, Big-Man, Chief: Political Types in Melanesia and Polynesia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 5(3): 285-303.
  • Kirch, P.V. (2001). “Polynesian Feasting in Ethnohistoric, Ethnographic, and Archaeological Contexts: A Comparison of Three Societies.” In Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power, eds. M. Dietler and B. Hayden, Pp. 168-184. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institute Press.
  • See supplementary materials.


July 2 (M)- Seminar: The Apotheosis of Captain Cook

  • Syllabus quiz is due at 2pm.
  • Quiz to week 1 is due at 2pm.
  • Selections from Sahlins, M. (1985). Islands of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Trask, H.K. (1985). Review of “Marshall Sahlins, Islands of History. American Ethnologist 12: 784-787.
  • Borofsky, R. (1997). Cook, Lono, Obeyesekere, and Sahlins. Current Anthropology 38(2): 255-282.

July 4 (W)- Holiday: [No Seminar]

July 6 (F)- Seminar: The Margaret Mead Controversy

  • Selections from Shankman, P. (2009). The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy. Madison: Wisconsin Press.
  • See supplementary materials.


July 9 (M)- Seminar: Debating Tradition

  • Quiz for week 2 is due at 2pm.
  • Watch: Stinson, J. (2018, Jul. 3). How The U.S. Territory Of Guam Became An American Colony. AJ+ [10.5 mins].
  • Watch: Mock, J. (2015, May 16). Hollywood’s Appropriation Of Hawaiian Culture. shift | msnbc [6mins].
  • Keesing, R. (1982). Kastom in Melanesia: An Overview. Mankind 13(4): 297- 300.
  • Keesing, R. (1989). Creating the Past: Custom and Identity in the Pacific. The Contemporary Pacific 1(2): 19-42.
  • Trask, H.K. (1991). Natives and Anthropologists: The Colonial Struggle. The Contemporary Pacific 3(1):159-67.
  • Keesing, R. (1991). Reply to Trask. The Contemporary Pacific 3(1):168-171.
  • Friedman, J. (1993). Will the real Hawaiian please stand: anthropologists and natives in the global struggle for identity. Bijdragen tot de Taal 149(4de): 737-767.
  • Mallon, S. (2016 [2010]). Why we should beware of the word ‘traditional’. Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand.
  • See supplementary material.

July 11 (W)- Seminar: Custom and Sovereignty 

  • Aikau, H.K. (2008). Resisting Exile in the Homeland: He Mo’oleno No Lā’ie. American Indian Quarterly 32(1):  70-95.
  • Aikau, H.K. (2012). A Chosen People, a Promised Land: Mormonism and Race in Hawai’i, Pp. 123-156. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Watch: Helela, N. (2011, Jul. 29). Ha. Youth Speaks Hawai’i [2.5 mins].
  • Watch: Lowie, A. (2014, Sep. 21). Dance [4 mins].
  • Watch: Takruri, D. (2017, Mar. 3). Meet The Native Hawaiians Fighting U.S. Occupation. Aj+ [7 mins].
  • Watch: Takruri, D. (2017, Mar. 2). Mark Zuckerberg Sued Native Hawaiians For Their Own Land. Aj+ [7 mins].
  • See supplementary material.

July 13 (F)- Seminar: Decolonizing Methodologies

  • Watch: Nu’utupu-Giles, W. and Travis T. (2015, Dec. 23). Oral Traditions. Button Poetry [3 mins].
  • Gegeo, D.W. and K.A. Watson-Gegeo. (2001). “How we know”: Kwara’ae rural villages doing indigenous epistemology. The Contemporary Pacific 13 (1): 55–88.
  • Tengan, T.PK. (2005). Unsettling ethnography: Tales of an ‘Ōiwi in the anthropological slot. Anthropological Forum 15(3): 247–56.
  • Brady, I. (2017). Other Places and the Anthropology of Ourselves: Early Fieldwork in Tuvalu. Qualitative Inquiry 23 (3) 179-191.
  • See supplementary material.


July 16 (M)- Seminar: Talanoa and Empathy 

  • Controversies in Anthropology is due at 2pm.
  • Quiz for week 3 is due at 2pm.
  • Farrelly, T. and U. Nabobo‐Baba (2014). Talanoa as empathic apprenticeship. Asia Pacific ViewPoint 55(3): 319-330.
  • Throop, C.J. (2011). “Suffering Empathy, and Ethical Modalities of Being in Yap (Waqab), Federated States of Micronesia.” In The Anthropology of Empathy: Experiencing the Lives of Others in Pacific Societies, eds. D.W. Hollan and C.J. Throop, Pp. 119-149. New York: Berghahn.
  • See supplementary material.

July 18 (W)- Seminar: Marking Indigeneity, Part I

  • Ka’ili, T.O. (2017). Marking Indigeneity: The Tongan Art of Sociospatial Relations. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

July 20 (F)- Seminar: Marking Indigeneity, Part II

  • Quiz for week 4 is due at 2pm.
  • Continue reading Marking Indigeneity.


July 23 (M)- Seminar: [No classes]

  • Continue reading Marking Indigeneity.

July 25 (W)- Seminar: Marking Indigeneity, Part III

  • Finish reading Marking Indigeneity.

July 27 (F)- Seminar: Literature

  • Hau’ofa, E. (1994 [1984]). Tales of the Tikongs. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i of Press.


July 30 (M)- Seminar: The Good Life

  • Articulating and Marking Indigenity is due at 2pm.
  • Hereniko, V. (2014). “The Human Face of Climate Change: Notes from Rotuma and Tuvalu.” In Pacific Futures: Projects Politics and Interests, ed. W. Rollason, Pp. 226-235. New York: Berghahn.
  • Participate in one of the two possible discussions: 1.) “The Good Life,” or 2.) “Gender and Money.”
  • Watch: Jetnil-Kijiner, K. (2014, Sep. 14). Statement and poem by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Climate Summit 2014 – Opening Ceremony. United Nations [7 mins].
  • Watch: Jetnil-Kijiner, K. and D. Lin (2018, Apr. 15). Anointed. Pacific Storytellers Cooperative [6 mins].
  • Watch: Jetnil-Kijiner, K. (2017, Sep. 25). Monster. United For Peace Film Festival [5mins].

August 1 (W)- Seminar: Literature from Papua New Guinea

  • Hannet, Leo. (1970). Disillusionment with the priesthood. Kovave 2(1): 22-28.
  • Waiko, J.D. (1969). Why We Do Not Receive Cargo From Our Dead Relatives. Kovave (n.d.): 28-31.
  • Kerpi, K. (1975). Cargo. Kovave 5(1): 30-36.
  • Selections from Soaba, R. (1977). Wanpis.
  • Kaisaipwalova, J. (1972). “Betel-nut is Bad Magic for Aeroplanes.” In The Night Warrior and Other Stories from Papua New Guinea.
  • See supplementary material.

August 3 (F)- Seminar: [No classes]

  • Tales of the Tikongs is due at 2pm.
  • The Good Life” is due at midnight.
  • Schram, R. (2018). Harvests, Feasts, and Graves: Postcultural Consciousness in Contemporary Papua New Guinea. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


August 6 (M)- Seminar: Harvests, Feasts, and Graves, Part I

  • PNG literature is due at 2pm.
  • Continue reading Harvests, Feasts, and Graves.

August 8 (W)- Seminar: Harvests, Feasts, and Graves, Part II

  • Continue reading Harvests, Feasts, and Graves.

August 10 (F)- Seminar: Harvests, Feasts, and Graves, Part III

Each student needs to participate in blog discussions on at least two of the following topics. Students may contribute to any many posts as they’d like for extra credit points.

Join discussions on: