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Sacred Queens and Women of Consequence

Rank, Gender, and Colonialism in the Hawaiian Islands

Subjects: Gender Studies, Anthropology
Paperback : 9780472064236, 304 pages, 17 drawings, 1 photograph, 21 tables, 6 x 9, July 1990
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A study of Hawaiian women's cultural valuation and social position in the first century of Western contact

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Tables    xiii
Figures     xv
Note on Sources     xvii
Abbreviations and Symbols     xxiii
Chapter 1: Introduction     1
Chapter 2: Women and Tabu     13
Chapter 3: Women in Praxis:     37
Chapter 4: Chiefs and Commoners     75
Chapter 5: The Local Group     113
Chapter 6: The Economic Events     155
Chapter 7: Women and Land     189
Chapter 8: Status, Gender, and Colonialism     229
Glossary     241
Notes     245
Works Cited     247
Index     263


Sacred Queens and Women of Consequence is a pathbreaking examination of the contact encounter in Hawaii from the perspective of Hawaiian women. Jocelyn Linnekin offers a reconstruction of Hawaiian women's authority and status before contact with the West and examines changes in their cultural valuation and social position during the first century of Western contact. Through a detailed analysis of women's roles in exchange, production, kinship, and politics during the political and economic transformations of the nineteenth century, Linnekin challenges the view that Polynesian women were doomed to a peripheral status by the ritual logic of pollution. She demonstrates how Hawaiian women maintained their position as points of access to land and power, while frequently resisting the constraints of the tabu system as well as later Western-influenced attempts to abridge their authority.

This book is a unique and important contribution to the scholarship on Hawaiian history as well as to the growing literature on women and colonialism and women and social stratification. It will appeal to scholars and students who work in the areas of gender studies, social stratification, cultural change, Oceania, and historical anthropology.

". . . offers a nuanced analysis of the colonial transformations of gender and colonization and is an important case study for Pacific historical anthropology."
--American Ethnologist