Pasifika Research Article of the week: The I and the We:Individuality, Collectivity, and Samoan Artistic Responses to Cultural Change by April K. Henderson

This article discusses articulations of the Samoan “relational self,” traces broad patterns and recent developments that indicate an interplay of global forces and local expressions of Samoanness, and reflects on questions regarding how, given contexts of globalization and cultural change, Samoans might be negotiating between individuality and collectivity—“being for the self” and “being for the group.” As a means of addressing these questions, it explores the work of Samoan literary and performing artists, drawing on the novel Where We Once Belonged by Sia Figiel and on a wide range of Samoan hip hop artists based in California, Hawai‘i, and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Situating itself within a history of Pacific critical writing that pays attention to the work of art and artists—according to them not just the ability to represent Pacific societies but also the power to shape, change, and build them—this article understands Samoan literary and performing artists as providing important commentary toward fashioning an Oceanic community of critique capable of navigating future ways of being Samoan.

Access the full article here.

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