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Americans Abroad: Melville and Pacific Perspectives


  • Gniadek Melissa

    () (University of Toronto, 27 King’s College Cir, Toronto, ON M5S, Canada)


This article draws on experiences of international academic reorientation, specifically time spent in New Zealand, to reflect on the possibilities of bringing the personal and the theoretical together in relation to transnational study. It asks how experiences outside of U.S. national space inflect U.S-based transnational study and whether we can, and should, make academic time and space to acknowledge how personal experiences in particular locations shape what we notice and the questions that we ask in our critical work. More specifically, the essay relates experiences reading and re-reading Herman Melville’s 1855 novella Benito Cereno in different locations, in order to explore how the reorientation provoked by geographic displacement from U.S. national space can be involved in reading or thinking transnationally. Using Benito Cereno to focus specifically on how U.S.-based scholarship on the nineteenth-century Pacific might work to shift focus from U.S.-centric paradigms, the article argues, more generally, for increased attention to how the places we read from can inflect the questions we ask in our scholarship.

Suggested Citation

  • Gniadek Melissa, 2015. "Americans Abroad: Melville and Pacific Perspectives," New Global Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 9(3), pages 313-329, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:nglost:v:9:y:2015:i:3:p:313-329:n:7

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