ebook ∣ Reconfiguring History and Identity in the Postcolonial Pacific
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How do foreign schemas and objects enter into indigenous ways of understanding the world? How are the cultural self and the cultural other constructed in acts of remembering? What is memory's role in the generation or degeneration of cultural meanings? In contemporary Pacific societies these questions are not merely the subject of scholarly debate but speak to pressing life concerns.
This volume offers fruitful responses to such questions, providing insights into colonial memory and its limitations and proposing explanations that illumine cultural memory processes. These processes, in turn, elucidate ways of authoring cultural history and shed light on cultural identity, which, like other forms of identity, is built from a remembered self. Contributors explore valorizations of certain aspects of the remembered past, amnesias about other aspects. Both are part of the rhetoric of colonizing cultures and of cultural identity and nationhood in many contemporary Pacific societies.
The provocative analyses and responses offered here are both academic and personal: close engagement with individuals and their ways of life is evident. These are at once intellectual journeys through the colonial landscapes of Pacific memory and attempts to understand the problems of politics and personhood, cultural identity and meaning, for real people in real places. Cultural Memory confronts many of the most central anthropological issues of our time.