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Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Transpacific American Studies$
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Yuan Shu, Otto Heim, and Kendall Johnson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455775

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455775.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2021. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 03 March 2021

Recalling Oceanic Communities

Recalling Oceanic Communities

The Transnational Theater of John Kneubuhl and Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl*

(p.239) 11 Recalling Oceanic Communities
Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Transpacific American Studies

Otto Heim

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter situates the dramatic work of Samoan and Hawaiian playwrights John Kneubuhl and Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl in relation to an Oceanian sense of community rooted in a customarily open, fluid, and mobile consciousness of space, in order to ask how such a community consciousness may challenge dominant political identifications and empower the imagination of transnational, postcolonial forms of belonging. Noting the fundamental importance of memory in sustaining a sense of community that thrives in mobility while maintaining the indivisibility of people and land, the chapter examines the memory work performed in John Kneubuhl’s Think of a Garden and Other Plays and Victoria Kneubuhl’s Hawai‘i Nei: Island Plays, as it stirs the limits of living memory, discloses the spectral life of the past in the present, and raises questions about the relationship between loss and remembrance. In different ways, I argue, these plays can be seen to enact a sense of community that seems radically opposed to communitarian thinking in a national frame but fitting to the transnational imagination of a sea of islands, reimagining genealogies in terms of finitude, difference, and interdependence.

Keywords:   Sea of islands, Memory work, Pacific theatre, John Kneubuhl, Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl

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