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Debating on Cultural Performances of Hawaiian Surfing in the 19th Century

Abstract : Several years after the debate on the invention of traditions in the Pacific, this article highlights some work that reproduces or deconstructs preconceived notions dealing with Hawaiian cultural performances. Through the case study of he‘e nalu (Hawaiian surfing) in the 19th century, this analysis explains why anthropologists and historians have come to contradictory findings regarding its decline. Early works dealing with diaries of missionaries and sailors have argued for the near extinction of surfing, whereas a new school of thought tapping into Hawaiian sources and French literature has pinpointed its vivacity. To clarify controversy, I examine American, British, French and Hawaiian primary sources and sheds light on the state of he‘e nalu and its cultural performances in the 19th century.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02096111
Contributor : Jérémy Lemarié <>
Submitted on : Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 9:59:05 AM
Last modification on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 4:44:18 PM

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Jérémy Lemarié. Debating on Cultural Performances of Hawaiian Surfing in the 19th Century. Journal de la Société des Océanistes, Société des Océanistes, 2016, Du corps à l’image. La réinvention des performances culturelles en Océanie, pp.159-174. ⟨10.4000/jso.7625⟩. ⟨halshs-02096111⟩

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