Tryst Tropique: Pacific Texts, Modern Sexualities

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dc.contributor.advisor Alex Calder en Wallace, Leonelle en 2008-01-07T02:09:06Z en 2008-01-07T02:09:06Z en 1996 en
dc.identifier.citation Thesis (PhD--English)--University of Auckland, 1996. en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract Tryst Tropique questions some of the assumptions that have been made about the heterosexual trajectory described by European desire as it has informed literary, artistic and anthropological representation of the South Pacific. It reads a series of contact encounters and Pacific residencies for their unfolding of European sexual inscription and discovers their inevitable entanglement with problematics of homosexual definition. This thesis arcs between two readings wherein the sexual conduct of Polynesian men both requires and escapes European definition. The first, which settles on the documents of Cook's third voyage, uses British indifference to Hawaiian sodomitical desire to help measure a representational space from whence the European homosexual will emerge (Chapter Two). The next reading considers the erotics of male visibility legible across a number of Marquesan contact texts including Herman Melville's Typee (Chapter Three). Chapter Four discovers that the suspicion of sodomitical misconduct which clouded the career of William Yate, an early nineteenth-century New Zealand missionary, continues to involve twentieth-century commentators in the interpretative dynamics of sexual entrapment. Chapter Five turns to Gauguin's Tahitian writings and paintings to engage with the place of ambivalence in contemporary analyses of colonial discourse. Chapter Six extends the parameters of the thesis in terms of gender and of geography, taking up the controversy generated by Derek Freeman around the early Samoan fieldwork of Margaret Mead. It argues that in the example of Mead's career, we can observe the way in which female sexuality acts as the cipher by which culture multiplies and maintains ignorances and knowledges across the discursive field of sex in both cosmopolitan and primitive locations. The final chapter, which analyses a contemporary documentary representation of Samoan fa'afafine, finds the pertinence or applicability of European sexual description to Polynesian behaviour again at stake, though now we find that the liberal gesture of cultural relativism is co-optable to a homophobia already drilled and proficient in erecting a difference without to forestall a difference within. Reading against the grain of much postcolonial work on the South Pacific, Tryst Tropique finds that it is the male body-whether native or European-not the female, which provides the sexual vanishing point which structures many of these narratives. In each of these Pacific moments a privileged figuration occurs: the body which stands as a placemarker for erotic capacities-both indulged and forsworn-is indicatively male. These inscriptions of masculinity betray a certain amplifying anxiety; the discrepant sexual availabilities recorded in each text break with increasing urgency on the shore of heterosexual and homosexual definition. Even as these Pacific journal keepers, these writers and artists, map identity more and more ferociously onto the known grid of gender, it seems as if the horizon of sexual certainty further and further recedes. en
dc.format Scanned from print thesis en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA665498 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Tryst Tropique: Pacific Texts, Modern Sexualities en
dc.type Thesis en English en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.subject.marsden Fields of Research::420000 Language and Culture::420200 Literature Studies::420203 Literatures of the Pacific en
dc.subject.marsden Fields of Research::370000 Studies in Human Society::379900 Other Studies In Human Society::379902 Indigenous studies en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.local.anzsrc 200302 - English Language en Faculty of Arts en

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