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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton Second semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Matt Tomlinson


Anthropologists working with Polynesian cultures have generated some of the discipline's most provocative and productive debates. Major topics such as identity, agency, and performance have been investigated, argued about, and continually rethought. In this class, students will read and participate in some of these debates including: arguments over Captain Cook's "divine" status for Hawaiians; interpretations of sexuality, power, and violence in Samoa; long-distance voyaging and settlement; ritual cannibalism; and ethnographic representation. All of these topics will be discussed with reference to their contributions to anthropological understandings beyond Polynesia itself.


  1. display significant knowledge about the cultures of the Pacific Islands
  2. identify key debates in the history of anthropology
  3. discuss the ways that scholarly arguments about culture are best evaluated, criticised, engaged with, and used productively
  4. develop the ability to write a focused research paper
  5. develop the ability to write a proposal for scholarly research


Essay (2500 words): 50%
Examination (2 hours): 50%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Matt Tomlinson

Contact hours

2 hour seminar per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



A first-year sequence in Anthropology or History or Politics or Sociology or a cognate discipline or by permission