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Editorial introduction Oceanic routes: migrations and mtissages in South Pacific literatures and travelogues

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Oceanic routes focuses on the South Pacific region but also reaches beyond simply francophone shores to encompass English-speaking archipelagoes. It examines the labor-driven population transfers that resulted in the extended exchanges of peoples, languages, customs and cultures that reshaped key aspects of the South Pacific. Geographically, refocusing on the indigenous vision of the region valorizes the term Oceania, originally used to reflect a universe which once comprised not just land surfaces but also the ocean surrounding them. Thus the sea links past and future beyond island boundaries through the transmission of cross-cultural connections and intersections. By contrast, enduring colonial divisions based on geography or language tends to further the legacy of colonialist perspectives and praxes and contribute to the fragmentation and distanciation of the region from the unitary vision of its origins. Such a vision of the island as intrinsically linked to other locales and open to the world naturally calls forth the image of the ship. Inverting this relation such that the vessel remains static and the island is seen as moving, is in keeping with alternative oceanic epistemologies of person and place which valorise both roots and routes.
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Keywords: boundary; contact; exchange; exploration; labour; migration; voyage; waterway

Document Type: Editorial

Affiliations: 1: Johns Hopkins University. 2: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Publication date: 01 December 2008

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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