On the Edge? Deserts, Oceans, Islands

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ISSN: 1043-898X

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Jolly, Margaret
anthropology, cultural studies, culture, history, Pacific studies, representation, visual arts
article description
This paper starts with a playful interrogation of being “on the edge” of California from the perspective of a millennial experience “in the center” of Australia— partly to suggest my own location, but also to suggest how imagined geographies of edges and centers, of peripheries and interiors are geopolitical mirages. It then moves to a consideration of how representations of deep time, in being “on the edge” or inhabiting “a sea of islands” relate to the contemporary politics of indigeneity and diaspora in the Pacific. While acknowledging the differences between Islanders of different regions and countries, the co-presence of the values of “roots” and “routes” is stressed. The varied relation of indigeneity and diaspora is explored through visual arts displayed in museums and cultural festivals in Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and Australia.

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