Pacific studies

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Pacific studies is the study of the Pacific region (Oceania) across academic disciplines such as anthropology, archeology, art, economics, geography, history, linguistics, literature, music, politics, or sociology.

In the fields of anthropology and linguistics, Oceania is often subdivided into Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, while also including Australasia. In archeology and prehistory, Oceania extends into the southern Pacific Rim of Asia, especially the islands now comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Study of the history, economics, and politics from the colonial period on is inextricably bound to that of the major colonial powers: Britain, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Russia, the United States, and later Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia.

For many Pacific Islanders, Pacific studies involves projects of cultural renaissance, the reclamation and reassertion of cultural identity, while for many others, Pacific studies tends to focus more on modernization and development, on how to understand the region in ways that will improve people's lives (Firth 2003).



See also[edit]


  • Firth, Stewart. 2003. Future Directions in Pacific Studies. The Contemporary Pacific 15: 139-148.
  • Hviding, Edvard. 2003. Between Knowledges: Pacific Studies and Academic Disciplines. The Contemporary Pacific 15: 43-73.
  • Thaman, Konai Helu. 2003. Decolonizing Pacific Studies: Indigenous Perspectives, Knowledge, and Wisdom in Higher Education. The Contemporary Pacific 15: 1-17.
  • Other articles in the Special Issue: Back to the Future: Decolonizing Pacific Studies, edited by Vilsoni Hereniko and Terence Wesley-Smith, The Contemporary Pacific 15 (2003).

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