Spring 2024

Islanders Abroad in the Nineteenth Century

Listed in: Colloquia, as COLQ-350


Edward D. Melillo (Section 01)


Pacific Islander protagonists are conspicuously absent from nineteenth-century travel writing. Even so, myriad voyagers from Oceania journeyed to the furthest reaches of the planet in the 1800s, generating intercultural encounters and returning to their archipelagic homelands with news of the outside world. This research tutorial focuses on Indigenous Pacific Islander women and men who travelled to the United States, Europe, China, and Japan during the nineteenth century. Over the past decade, new searchable websites containing millions of pages of newspapers and other printed materials from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Fiji, Hawai‘i, Tahiti, and Tonga have come online. These vast clearinghouses for primary source materials offer possibilities for adding nuance, thick description, and multiple viewpoints to accounts of Pacific Islander journeys. Students in this tutorial will conduct research on these voyages, and we will publish our findings as part of an ongoing Pacific Islander history blog project.

This course is part of a tutorial series that engages Amherst students in substantive research with faculty in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Open to sophomores and juniors interested in research. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 6 students. Spring semester. Professor Melillo.

How to handle overenrollment: priority given to sophomore and junior history majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on independent research, collaborative work, oral and written work.