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FOUNDATION HISTORY Week 2 Dr. Ryota Nishino and Lalita Sharma. Edited by Dr. Sakul Kundra OBJECTIVES Discuss the original meaning and current definition of history Identify the prejudices inherent in the recording of history Identify the birth of Pacific history and its focus on the islands Discuss how the terms South Seas and Pacific evolved Define the geographical areas which Pacific history encompasses THE FOCUS Cook Islands Fiji Kiribati Marshall Islands Nauru Niue Samoa Solomon Islands Tokelau Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu COVERAGE Land mass: 64,000 sq km = the area (size) of Sri Lanka Land mass + sea area: 33 million sq km = the area of Africa Population: 1.8 million Pacific Islands Map. WHY IS HISTORY IMPORTANT? To deal with problems of the present by knowing the past THINK: Rise of forceful leaders Racial tensions War Disease Poverty Capitalism Foreign rule ISSUE OF RECORDING HISTORY QUESTION OF: REPRESENTATION/INTERPRETATION Much portrayed through the eyes of storyteller, e.g. village elder/orator, historian, movie director, etc. Listeners of these stories, or readers and viewers of the past lives are influenced by their representations and interpretations Choices we make are based on those representations DEFINING and INTERPRETING HISTORY Lotopia (Greek – meaning “to inquire”) History Term lotopia first recorded by Greek scholar ‘Herodotus’ – father of modern history in 5th century BCE. To explain and make sense of the past involved: - Collecting and comparing sources - Checking one source against others - Acknowledging the source of information so that the reader can check the honesty of the writer DEFINITION “Continuous methodical record of public events; the study of past events, especially, human affairs” (ACOD, 1990 imp.:505). SOURCES: - written records - oral traditions - physical evidence ISSUE OF INTERPRETATION The above sources are subject to the interpretation of the person who recorded the events. History is the historian’s reconstruction of the past from how s/he has interpreted the sources of information. IMPORTANT: the people who reconstruct the past have an important role as they influence our perception of the present and that perception influences our daily lives. Historians may overlook views of others and reflect what they themselves see. RESULT: “bias or prejudice” – derived from attitude of historians – on how events should be recorded. PREJUDICES IN HISTORY WRITING ATTITUDE and PREJUDICE affect history writing. DEFINITION: Attitude – is a way of thinking or an opinion which is often reflected in behaviour. Attitude determines response. Negative attitude may be prejudice: an unfounded feeling of dislike or distrust towards someone or something, usually based on ignorance or fear. Prejudice – is a negative prejudgment of an individual or members of a racial, ethnic, religious or other group, which a person continues to make in the face of fact that contradicts such a judgment. A prejudiced person tends to believe that his or her own group is ‘superior’ to others in ‘intelligence, character or behaviour’. HISTORICAL PREJUDICES IN PACIFIC ISLAND and INDIAN CULTURES Individuals of high birth or high caste have most authority Individuals of low birth or low caste hardly have authority E.g. kaisi bokola - slave (conquered people) Dabe e na ike qai kisi ki na tabakau – one talking too much used to sit on the mat, but now sits outside” Kai colo – people from the “bushland” (“backward”) Discrimination against Dalit persons Discrimination against foreigners Discrimination against women, LGBT, etc. ACTIVITY 1 ACTS RESULTING FROM PREJUDICE (DISCRIMINATION) ATTITUDES AND BASIS OF ATTITUDES BIRTH OF PACIFIC HISTORY and ISLAND ORIENTED FOCUS Before the 20th century, virtually all academic historians were Europeans. To them, islanders were mere objects, afterthoughts and footnotes. That approach marginalised islanders. It was merely a specialization of the main stream concerned with the merely a specialization of the main stream concerned with the historical study of the region embracing the oceanic islands of the Pacific. Oral traditions were the only island “history” that existed. In the area of imperial and colonial history, islanders were ‘subtopics’ of the larger history of Europe, Australia or Asia, if the islanders were mentioned at all. ALTERNATIVE APPROACH 1949 – some historians introduced a different approach. Focus: the islands and their inhabitants as subjects of history. Initiative: Pacific and Southeast Asian Department of the Australian National University Leaders of this approach: J.W. Davidson and H.E. Maude READING 1.1 – J.W. DAVIDSON, “PROBLEMS OF PACIFIC HISTORY” Slowly the island people history became a recognized specialization within the general matrix of historical studies. Map of Pacific Islands. Division of Pacific by Dumont D’Urville Pacific Islands have been conventionally divided into the Polynesians in the east, the Micronesians in the north-west, and the Melanesians in the south-west, following Dumont D'Urville's classification made in 1830, Though subsequent research has shown that only the Polynesians are a relatively homogeneous group, culturally and linguistically, and Melanesia is merely a convenient geographical term with perhaps little if any other significance. Furthermore, particularly during the last 100 years, large numbers of immigrants? Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, Indians? have entered the area, and those who have settled there permanently, maybe inter-marrying with the existing inhabitants, have as much right to call themselves islanders as anyone else. Study of Pacific Islanders The multiplicity of societies in Pacific Islands which, in varying degrees of isolation from each other through barriers of ocean, mountain or mutual distrust, have developed a heterogeneous assemblage of social, economic and political systems, of culture traits and complexes, beliefs, values and attitudes, which can be observed in detail and in time-depth owing to the smallness of the groups and the relatively brief length of their occupancy. In view of the lack of written sources, the pioneer Pacific historians, made use of the vast wealth of Polynesian oral tradition which they found ready to hand in their reconstructions of early Tahitian and Hawaiian history. Pacific Oral Sources VS Anthropological Sources Anthropological Studies: The functional school of anthropology resulted in a reaction which largely rejected the historicity of tradition. It was now held that its value was primarily as validating data, as one historian puts it in support of the contemporary corpus of argument, in its bearing on the contemporary social scene'; not to events in the period about which it purports to relate, but to social conditions in the period in which it is told. Oral Sources: Another historians admitted that oral data might be more reliable when used, in the reconstruction of local history. In any case, since 1938 there has been a gradual trend towards a renewed acceptance of the value of oral tradition as evidence of historical fact, subject to its being evaluated as carefully as one would a document, with due regard to the status and reliability of the narrator, its conformity with known culture patterns, its compatibility with other accounts of the same events and its corroboration by other interacting traditions. Value of Oral sources To what extent to which one can credit oral tradition as evidence of historical fact must largely depend on the historical sense and interest of the particular community concerned, which in turn is dependent on the function of historical memorization in the local culture. How far oral tradition can take one back before one becomes lost in the fog of mythology is again dependent on local criteria, but at the best it can only serve to illuminate the immediately precontact period for a few centuries, with the exception of occasional probably historical but chronologically isolated facts concerning migrations which appear to be remembered after the detail of local history has been forgotten. As Suggs suggests: 'There is good reason to believe that Polynesian historical traditions concerning the origin of island settling parties may often be reliable'. Value of oral tradition. The view of the value of oral tradition in historical reconstruction which has become generally accepted among historical field workers and anthropologists interested in diachronic studies, if not by the more intransigent armchair theoreticians, accustomed to their own cultural milieu, who understandably find it difficult to appreciate the quite exceptional powers of illiterate peoples to memorize when it serves an important purpose. Sometimes historians tried to use both oral tradition and documentary sources to formulate history. Value of Oral Sources The Oral sources are used to reform the traumatic events such as wars, clan origins, migrations and natural catastrophes, are remembered even though bereft of their genealogical time reference. From published papers it is evident that despite all handicaps excellent pioneering work is now being done in this area, some of it in conjunction with archaeologists and linguists, and that the value of oral accounts of events in the postcontact period as a supplement, and perhaps corrective, to the narratives of Europeans is generally recognized. Critic of Oral sources. Firstly, A frequently heard objection to the use of traditional material is that it is subject to manipulation by descendants seeking status, land or other desiderata. But naturally historians have to endeavour to recognize and allow for suppressions, additions and other forms of duplicity in both oral and written sources. Secondly, one is told that oral sources are based at best on a genealogical time sequence and thus provide only an approximate means of dating an event in terms of European chronology. This is true enough, particularly where genealogical foreshortening has occurred through the intentional or unintentional omission of one or more generations. Oral sources vs European Written Sources The subject of oral tradition is discuss in detail because of its particular importance to the Pacific historian, not only in extending the rather brief historical period covered by documentation but also in providing a balance to the European viewpoint expressed in the bulk of the written sources. In the whole field of unwritten records, including oral tradition, there lies a great opportunity for the universities in the islands to make their own distinctive contribution to historical science. Written Sources Historians in the developed countries are so encompassed with the vast and ever-accumulating mass of written documentation that hardly anyone can be expected to take time off, at least in the foreseeable future, to pay attention to other sources of, to them, far less significance. But in the emergent countries, where the time span of literature is so much less, the relative importance of unwritten as compared with written source material is correspondingly greater. Therefore, All sources are pertinent and each that is extant should be exploited. But when written documents are missing, it is only something to be lamented, as the lack of any source material would be; it is not a wholly insurmountable obstacle. Problem of Pacific History writing One of the main problems facing the Pacific historian is the fact that until about a century ago these sources were almost entirely written by Europeans and are often both ethnocentrically biased and inaccurate. It is impossible here to give more than the most cursory examination of Pacific literature. Well over half the post-contact period, the information learnt concerning the islanders was, in the absence of any means of verbal communication, only such as could be observed- the material culture and the visual manifestations of social behaviour. What each side really understood about the other in early racial interactions. Problems of Sources The coming of Europeans and establishing contacts with islanders had given different forms of histories, as missionaries presented the picture of islanders with different prospective to that of Europeans, depending on relatively brief impression or rumor information. Despite their imperfections, which one can usually detect and discount in advance, such are our main source material for the 19th century Pacific, and if used with circumspect they are an invaluable aid in the reconstruction of island history. Pacific history and sources Early explorers had interaction with the islanders and beachcomber; missionary with the converts and prospective converts; and traders with his customers. With the voyages of Cook and his contemporaries, however, the trickle of Pacific literature becomes a stream, fed from now on not only by these fortuitous sources but also by a new and ever swelling tributary: that of scientific investigation based on systematic empirical research. Cook identification of islands in 1769, marked the beginning of birth of Pacific History. Later another pioneer voyage in Island marked emergence of disciplines of human geography and anthropology. Emergence of new Pacific sources Another source began with the practice of methodically describing not only the physical features of the islands but also the characteristics of their inhabitants. Later Professional scientific investigators, naturalists and ethnographers actually started to live in Pacific islands, mostly between 1861-1875. In the end of 19th century other social scientists were starting to visit the islands not as part of complement of naval vessel but as individuals. Although the natural sciences largely held the fort in Pacific studies during the 19th century, anthropology [the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind], as the principal discipline engaged in studying the islanders, was busy collecting its basic data, perfecting its methodology and consolidating its position as a recognized social science. Rise of new sources to study Pacific History That anthropology, as the only discipline which had freed itself from a predominantly European orientation, should lead the way in the study of the Pacific Islander is understandable enough, for the island societies were changing rapidly, particularly in Polynesia and Micronesia, and the need for field-work was urgent. On the other hand the documentary sources required by the historian were at the time still scattered all over the world, many of them inaccessible in official archives, and others in private hands and simply not known to exist, while the basic anthropological studies on which any multi-cultural history must rely for background data had in the main still to be written. Course of Progress of Pacific History Until 1919, when Schole field produced the first general work on modern Pacific history, there had been nothing written on the subject except studies of oral tradition, some missionary historical apologetics, and a few works on the local Hawaiia post-contact period. From now on, however, colonial history began to be taught in the universities and a few political studies covering the expansion of the European and American powers in the South Seas began to appear. In 1949, J. W. Davidson doctoral thesis had set the course of Pacific history on a new island-oriented tack and while his catholic interests embraced every aspect of Pacific historical studies: political, cultural, economic, religious from the ethnohistorian's work on the misty beginnings to the political scientist's research on current developments, the emphasis from now on was on the islander and the islands as seen from the inside rather than as formerly on the machinations of great power politics. Course of Progress of Pacific History It was Davidson who insisted on field-work as an essential addition to documentary research, a practice not generally observed by historians but none the less essential for effective cross-cultural studies and one which has converted more than one thesis from an academic exercise into a publishable contribution to knowledge. Research by scholars and historians started over the Pacific history. Perhaps the University of Hawaii leads, with courses on the regional cultures of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, regional archaeology, ethnobotany, Pacific literature, oral tradition, Pacific geography, the history of Oceania, race relations, as well as advanced seminars and directed research in Pacific history. Course of Progress of Pacific History For cross-cultural studies involving a multi disciplinary approach cannot fail to broaden their outlook and sharpen their critical faculties, while at the same time inculcating an awareness of, a toleration towards, and a sympathy for people with not only a skin colour different from their own but whose whole way of life, outlook, values and motivations may be dissimilar. Journal of Pacific History, which not only provides a home for research papers but also a record of current publications and documentary discoveries and circulates throughout the islands as well as in 33 other countries; the Pacific History Series, which reproduces manuscript and other scarce source material; and the Pacific Monograph Series, which publishes bibliographies, manuscript and thesis catalogues, periodical indexes and other working tools. the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau is a unique example of international interlibrary co-operation in which the major Pacific Research Libraries subsidize the Australian National University to maintain a clearing centre for the location, recording, copying and depositing (in original or microfilm) of all manuscript material relating to the Pacific Islands of significance for research purposes. Course of Progress of Pacific History This brings us to the future of Pacific history, which celebrated its 21st birthday as a recognized sub-discipline in 1970 and has therefore only just come of age. We are still at the stage of having to work on detailed studies in depth of particular problems, based on primary sources, or at the most on histories of particular island groups. Even then it remains to be seen whether the region retains a sufficient homogeneity for integrated treatment after its political partition by the European powers. There are of course many other more technical problems involved in regional historiography, the nature of historical truth, the evaluation of sources, their interpretation, the elimination of personal bias and acquired prejudices, the avoidance of anachronistic judgements. Reasons for the rise in Pacific studies Firstly, due to political dynamism sweeping over the South Seas, which tends to strengthen community cohesiveness, regardless of the particular constitutional solution reached in individual territories, from complete independence to complete integration with a metropolitan power. Secondly, Often associated with political resurgence is a cultural and intellectual renaissance, as the island peoples overcome their self-deprecatory feeling of inferiority in the face of European technological pre-eminence and recover from cultural disintegration and the cumulative pressurizing to accept our material values as the criteria of excellence in individual life and the society as a whole. There is the rapidly expanding network of inter-island and inter-group communications, which is producing for the first time a degree of regional cohesion, as exemplified by the South Pacific Commission, the South Pacific Games and the many inter-territorial conferences. Commencing in about 1920 the main focus of Pacific studies generally moved from Europe to the countries bordering the Pacific. There are already many indications of this trend in the establishment of libraries, museums, archives and societies in the island territories, where there are now no less than five journals which cater for Pacific historical studies. Pacific history will excel than European history writings The emphasis in history is changing, and will continue to change, as indigenous historiographers and teachers take over from Europeans who are, as it were, acting as trustees on their behalf. Pacific history will increasingly become what is sometimes termed decolonized history, in that it will be less concerned with the activities of Europeans, whether individuals or groups, and more with changes in the indigenous societies. Pacific History has great Future ahead. Pacific history is not only a fascinating specialization in its own right, studying a regional laboratory of historical variables in miniature that will enable it to make an increasing contribution to the discipline as a whole, but that it also has a very practical and therapeutic role to enact in assisting the rehabilitation of the Pacific peoples at the end of a traumatic era of European political, economic and technological ascendency by renewing their self-respect and providing them with a secure historical base from which to play their part as responsible citizens of independent or selfgoverning communities in a new world. WESTERN TRADITION IMPACT: enormous – affected every aspect of life: Religion Governance Education Commerce Influence came from: Explorers Whalers Beachcombers Castaways Missionaries Colonial administrators Traders Migrant labourers IMPORTANT NOTE: THE WRITING AND TEACHING OF LOCAL HISTORY HAS ONLY RECENTLY BEGUN. FOR A LONG TIME, HISTORY WAS TAUGHT AS THOUGH ISLANDERS DID NOT EXIST. ORIGINS: SOUTH SEAS & PACIFIC SOUTH SEAS: 13 September 1513, a Spanish explorer, Vasco Nunez de Balboa stood at the Panama Isthmus and called it the South Seas. PACIFICO (peace): 28 November 1520, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan sailed into the ocean through a passage (Magellan Strait) in South America. THE PACIFIC OCEAN SUMMARY Purpose: how the past helps to make sense of our present. Process of recording history from the point of view of islanders. People often interpret past events in terms of their own perspectives. We can review what we have learnt in the past and display our own perspectives.