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Transcultural Identity Constructions in a Changing World

Edited By Irene Gilsenan Nordin, Chatarina Edfeldt, Lung-Lung Hu, Herbert Jonsson and André Leblanc

This volume takes a broad outlook on the concept of transculturality. Contributions from 19 authors and specialists, of almost as many diverse origins, grapple with this concept, each in their own way. How can transculturality be described? How can it help us understand our world? Many of the chapters deal with literary texts, others with the stories told in movies, drama, and visual art. There are texts about the complexity of the European Burqa-Ban debate, the negative aspects of Portuguese multiculturalism, or the border-crossing experiences of Filipino immigrants in Ireland. Several chapters examine stereotypes, the idea of movement, the dissolution of cultural borders, or the nature of bilingual writing. It is a unique contribution to the field, on a virtually global scale.
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My Name is Gary Cooper, But it is also Samoan

Extract



In 1953, the Hollywood film Return to Paradise was shot on the Western Samoan island of Upolu. The arrival of the leading actor, Gary Cooper, along with the making of the film, to the then New Zealand administered territory was momentous. To commemorate this, many Samoan parents named their children Gary Cooper. As comical as this may seem, naming children after important events is not an unusual practice within the Samoan culture (Fa’a Samoa), illustrating that a person’s name becomes a form of cultural knowledge and oral history. As an example, the Samoan culture is a chief-based culture. The head of a family is normally the family’s titled chief. When a man becomes a chief, his title becomes his name. A chiefly title is more than just a symbol of status. It is a narrative text telling the history of the title, the history of the family holding that title, and that family’s prestige within the Samoan political and social hierarchy and within the Samoan cosmological order. The passing of a chiefly title from one generation to the next ensures a genealogical link from past to present. Every time the titular name is spoken, its history is repeated. This principle can be applied to the term Samoan, which, as a title of identification, has its own genealogy and inheritance.

According to one of the many legends of the origins of the name Samoa, Samoa is an abbreviated term for sa ia Moa (that which belongs to...

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