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ERIC Number: EJ1275538
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2020-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
"We Are Our History": Reviewing the History of Education in Hawai'i and Oceania
Taira, Derek
History of Education Quarterly, v60 n4 p632-643 Nov 2020
There is a "world of difference," anthropologist Epeli Hau'ofa argued, "between viewing the Pacific as 'islands in a far sea' and as 'a sea of islands.'" The distinction between both perspectives, he explained, is exemplified in the two names used for the region: Pacific Islands and Oceania. The former represents a colonial vision produced by white "continental men" emphasizing the smallness and remoteness of "dry surfaces in a vast ocean far from centers of power." This essay draws inspiration from Hau'ofa's writings to reconceptualize and situate the educational historiography of Hawai'i within the broader context of the educational historiography of Oceania. The author seeks to attract attention to the ways in which the region's educational history has been theorized, constructed, and employed by framing the history of education in Hawai'i (immigrant, Indigenous, and colonial) as emblematic of Oceania's limited presence in the larger historical literature on education and schooling. In doing so, the author hopes to highlight how the historical educational experiences of immigrant and Indigenous peoples in both Hawai'i and Oceania remain woefully understudied and that the vast majority of extant research centers on Western events, institutions, and individuals following European contact. As Hau'ofa succinctly puts it, "this kind of history is a hindrance," as it establishes Oceania as having no history prior to imperialism, only a "prehistory." Such misunderstanding relegates Oceanic peoples to the "roles of spectators and objects for transformation," marginalizes their narratives and experiences to the "footnotes of the histories of empires," and reinforces paternalistic colonial ideas of Oceania as tiny, remote, and helpless. Coupled with enduring and deeply rooted commercialized themes in the imaginations of continental Americans of idyllic scenery and friendly natives living in eternal paradise, it is easy to comprehend why Hawai'i and Oceania escape greater critical examination.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii