Melville and the Pacific

Third International Melville Conference

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Our proposal deadline was June 1, 2002—our thanks to everyone who submitted proposals.

No American author of his time engaged more deeply with the Pacific than Herman Melville. Alone among his nineteenth-century peers in his experience of the Pacific as a sailor and sojourner, as well as in his writings’ focus on that experience, Melville has achieved the status of a figure in global culture, whose works exert extraordinary appeal to scholars from Pacific lands. As Pacific regions redefine themselves and assume new significance in an era of increasing internationalism and expanding multicultural inquiry, it is more important than ever to examine Melville’s writings in relation to the Pacific.

Our conference on Melville and the Pacific will take place in Lahaina, Maui, where Melville was discharged from the Charles and Henry in 1843. It will feature exhibits of art, whaling craft, indigenous Hawaiian culture, and missionary life at the time of Melville’s sojourn, held in conjunction with local museums; walking tours of sites with connections to Melville and Hawaiian history; and opportunities for international scholars to share their research in a setting conducive to exploring Melville and the Pacific.

We especially invite papers that consider: Pacific geography and cultures; “nature,” the sea, whaling, fishing, environmental issues; exploration, travel, tourism, trans-cultural contacts, missionary enterprises; colonization, foreign and national policy, imperialism, militarism; race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality; representation, art, discourses of science or history; and revisiting Melville studies in the 21st century.