Artificial Lines in Saltwater and Sand: Boundaries, Borders, and Beaches in Oceania and Australia
Author(s): James Flexner
This is an abstract from the "Contested Landscapes: The Archaeology of Politics, Borders, and Movement" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Islands have long appeared to Western eyes as naturally bounded entities. It has been proposed that they represent ‘natural laboratories’ for understanding natural and cultural evolution. At the same time, islands are recognised as contact zones, for example historian Greg Dening has outlined the significance of ‘the beach’ for cross-cultural encounters. Pacific Islanders, for their part, see the ocean not as a boundary but as a medium for voyaging, exchange, and communication, Epeli Hau‘ofa’s famous ‘sea of islands’. In this paper, I explore some of the ways that arbitrary boundaries, usually drawn by Europeans, have shaped Oceanic histories, from early encounters with Pacific Islanders, to the territorialisation of Tasmania, to contemporary Australian border policies. These usually immaterial lines have profound material outcomes that resonate across time and space.
Cite this Record
Artificial Lines in Saltwater and Sand: Boundaries, Borders, and Beaches in Oceania and Australia. James Flexner. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451844)
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min long: 117.598; min lat: -29.229 ; max long: -75.41; max lat: 53.12 ;
Abstract Id(s): 23357