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Cultural Crossings / À la croisée des cultures

Negotiating Identities in Francophone and Anglophone Pacific Literatures / De la négociation des identités dans les littératures francophones et anglophones du Pacifique

Series:

Raylene Ramsay

Hitherto undiscovered yet fundamental historical and literary texts from the Pacific provide the subject matter of this collection of essays which sets out to explore the new forms of writing and hybrid identities emerging from both past and contemporary cultural contact and exchange in the ‘South Seas’.
This is also a weaving of the connections between Francophone and Anglophone writers long separated by colonial history. Luis Cardoso, writing in Portuguese from East Timor offers further points of contrast. The places of encounter – the beaches of Tahiti, the retelling of the texts of oral tradition, indigenous mastery of writing and appropriation of Western technology, the construction of contemporary Pacific anthologies or emerging post-colonial writing and translation – are sites of interaction and mixing that also involve negotiations of mana or power. From Pierre Loti’s mythical and feminised Tahitians to Déwé Gorodé’s silenced women, the outcomes of such negotiations are dynamic and different syncretisms. Two chapters reexamine the theoretical concept of hybridity from these Pacific perspectives.
Les articles publiés dans le présent recueil explorent les nouvelles formes d’écriture et les identités hybrides issues du creuset des Mers du Sud. Relativement inconnus, les textes au cœur de ces articles n’en sont pas moins les œuvres fondatrices de la région du Pacifique Sud dont ils constituent la trame historique et littéraire.
Longtemps tenus à l’écart les uns des autres par l’histoire coloniale de la région, les textes d’auteurs francophones et anglophones s’enchevêtrent et se recoupent en de multiples domaines. La reprise des textes de tradition orale, l’appropriation autochtone des technologies occidentales, la création d’anthologies contemporaines et l’émergence d’une littérature postcoloniale, sont autant de sites d’interactions et de convergence qui exigent une négociation permanente entre les pouvoirs et mana en présence.
C’est une nouvelle facette du concept d’hybridité que nous proposent ces études de la région Pacifique.

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INTRODUCTION. Cultural Crossings.Negotiating Identities in Pacific Literature 11

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INTRODUCTION Cultural Crossings Negotiating Identities in Pacific Literatures From first contacts with Europe and the impacts of evangelisation and colonisation through to the present processes of globalisation and what Selina Tusitala Marsh labels `polynation' or the mutual exchanges and common cause of different Polynesian cultures within New Zea- land, the different essays in this book follow the transformations and (re)constructions of traditional Pacific identities. These `negotiations' of identity are approached from a wide range of perspectives yet all of our authors come to strikingly similar conclusions: the places of encounter — on beaches, in writing, in the retelling of the texts of oral tradition, in the construction of contemporary Pacific anthologies or in postcolonial writing and translation — are sites of complex interaction and degrees of mixing that also involve negotiations of mana or power. The outcomes of the complex and shifting socio-political contexts of these negotia- tions are dynamic and different syncretisms that involve not only recov- ery or revival of traditional pasts but also the creation of distinctively new hybrid spaces. Two of our chapters interrogate directly the nature of the theoretical concept of hybridity in Pacific contexts. Anne Salmond's contribution is a vivid retelling of the stories of the successive historical encounters with the indigenous people ("les naturels") of the first European expeditions to arrive in Otaheite/Tahiti (presently part of French Polynesia). From the published `eye-witness' accounts of such ship's masters or men of science as Robertson, Com- merson and Banks, her text weaves the stories of the...

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