Quito SwanDec 20, 2022
Oceania, Anti-colonialism, and the African World
NYU Press 2022
Oceania is a vast sea of islands, large scale political struggles and immensely significant historical phenomena. Pasifika Black: Oceania, Anti-Colonialism, and the African World (NYU Press, 2022) is a compelling history of understudied anti-colonial movements in this region, exploring how indigenous Oceanic activists intentionally forged international connections with the African world in their fights for liberation.
Drawing from research conducted across Fiji, Australia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Britain, and the United States, Quito Swan shows how liberation struggles in Oceania actively engaged Black internationalism in their diverse battles against colonial rule. Pasifika Black features as its protagonists Oceania's many playwrights, organizers, religious leaders, scholars, Black Power advocates, musicians, environmental justice activists, feminists, and revolutionaries who carried the banners of Black liberation across the globe. It puts artists like Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal and her 1976 call for a Black Pacific into an extended conversation with Nigeria's Wole Soyinka, the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific's Amelia Rokotuivuna, Samoa's Albert Wendt, African American anthropologist Angela Gilliam, the NAACP's Roy Wilkins, West Papua's Ben Tanggahma, New Caledonia's Déwé Gorodey, and Polynesian Panther Will 'Ilolahia. In so doing, Swan displays the links Oceanic activists consciously and painstakingly formed in order to connect Black metropoles across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
In a world grappling with the global significance of Black Lives Matter and state-sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies, Pasifika Black is a both triumphant history and tragic reminder of the ongoing quests for decolonization in Oceania, the African world, and the Global South.