Oceanic Coordinations: Decolonial Ecologies in the Indigenous Pacific


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships


History of Consciousness


This dissertation project studies Indigenous Pacific knowledges and analyzes how they bear upon political and ecological concerns. Through ethnographic research on Aotea (Great Barrier Island) and a focus on mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), this project analyzes ways of knowing that are embedded in oral and literary expressions, including stories (pūrākau), chants (karakia), and genealogical relationships (whakapapa). It develops a historical methodology and philosophical framework that unsettles a hierarchical relationship between Indigenous and Western knowledges, instead focusing on their coarticulation. Thinking about knowledge formations as languages, this dissertation translates between Indigenous knowledges and Western—political and natural—sciences, while paying attention to those elements that may resist translation. If translation involves a certain kind of reading, this dissertation asks, what arts of reading can be cultivated to examine dynamic forms of political, scientific, and historical consciousness? How might these forms of consciousness coordinate new responses to living amidst ecological collapse?