Open Access Senior Thesis
Seo Young Park
Julia E. Liss
© 2014 Christine A. Zenel
The Western imagination has ascribed histories and identities of the Marquesas Islands throughout centuries of evolving discourses and representations as a paradoxical paradise, bolstering colonialist ideologies of social evolutionary theory. The islands have either been represented as backwards on a social scale to justify Western dominance, or have been represented as being in a state of authentic human nature out of colonial guilt and imperialist nostalgia. These representations reveal a paradox in which the Marquesas is ascribed in the Western imagination as a degenerate space, yet also as a space where the regeneration of human nature is made possible— provided that a time-backwards Marquesas is dependent on a civilized West.
Zenel, Christine A., "A Paradoxical Paradise: The Marquesas as a Degenerate and Regenerative Space in the Western Imagination" (2014). Scripps Senior Theses. 419.