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Mtissage and migration through the metaphor of the va'a, or canoe: intellectual cross-fertilization of Ma'ohi literature within an Oceanic context

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As Teissier-Landgraf's novel Hutu Panu: Tahiti, racines, et dchirements and Chantal Spitz's L'le des rves crass suggest, the concept of a Ma'ohi identity and mtissage is not monolithic. The mtiss identity is shaped by a combination of individual personality traits and preferences, family dynamics and environment. In the spirit of mtissage and migration, Ma'ohi creative and experiential ideas and energies can extend throughout the rest of Polynesia and Oceania, and further outward to the West. Sharing cultural productions, such as art and literature, functions as a powerful medium to resituate Oceanic peoples in dialogue with one another. Such dissemination will generate a long overdue (re)exchange of ideas and literatures between Oceanians that needs to occur vis--vis an intellectual cross-fertilization between formerly and currently colonized nation states. Such a shift will result in more inter-island exchanges and access to thoughts and experiences of other Oceanians. Importantly, this cross-fertilization of ideas will allow Ma'ohi writers to engage in a long overdue era of self-representation within their own Oceanic contexts.

Keywords: French Polynesian; Ma'ohi literature; Oceanic contexts; Tahitian; mtissage; women writers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Sul Ross State University.

Publication date: December 1, 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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