• Offered by Department of Pacific Affairs
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Pacific Studies, Asia Pacific Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

This course will consider what it means to be ‘feminist’ in contemporary Pacific society, and the goals of indigenous Pacific feminist action and advocacy. Through a series of guest lectures, the course will showcase the stories of various self-identified Pacific feminists, revealing their triumphs and challenges in articulating a vision of change in their own contexts. Students will also engage with a range of Pacific media – print and digital – to consider key issues pertinent to feminist struggles in the region, and strategies adopted by feminists to address these. Finally, the course will interrogate the occurrence of ‘feminist backlash’ in the Pacific, and consider its roots and consequences.

Topics covered under the course:

  • What is Pacific feminism and who can be a Pacific feminist?
  • Feminism and Pacific cultures: inherent tensions or opportunities for respect?
  • The foreignness of feminism: do foreign ideas and actors do more harm than good?
  • Effective Pacific feminist strategies: from solidarity to coalitions to movements
  • Feminist backlash: who drives anti-feminist sentiment in the Pacific and how?
  • Feminism as critical reflection: achievements and continuing challenges

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Use appropriate language, terminology and concepts for discussing gender and feminist thought in Pacific contexts
  2. Present a written and verbal analysis of contemporary feminist concerns in the Pacific
  3. Critically assess Pacific feminist strategies to achieve gender equality in terms of both Pacific and global normative frameworks.
  4. Design an original Pacific-appropriate feminist campaign to address gender inequality in the Pacific

Indicative Assessment

  1. Reflective piece (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Feminist campaign (70) [LO 1,2,3,4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


This course comprises some 65 hours of activity over 12 weeks, both interactive/seminar based and independent research. The course comprises a maximum of 3k words of assessment or the equivalent. Please note this is a general guide, averaged over the semester and the final hours ultimately depend on the individual's ability in reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

None available

Preliminary Reading

Ahmed, S. 2017. Living a Feminist Life. Durham: Duke University Press.


Ahmed S., Winter, B., and Ermarth, E. 2000. Whose counting? ; Who counts (or doesn't count) what as feminist theory? ; What counts as feminist theory? In Feminist Theory


Alver, J. (2017) Pacific feminist voices - will they be heard? http://www.broadagenda.com.au/home/pacific-feminist-civil-society/


Brimacombe, T., Kant, R., Finau, G., Tarai, J., & Titifanue, J. (2018). A new frontier in digital activism: An exploration of digital feminism in fiji. Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, 5(3), 508-521. doi:http://dx.doi.org.virtual.anu.edu.au/10.1002/app5.253  


Bulbeck, C. 2009, Sex, love and feminism in the Asia Pacific: a cross-cultural study of young people's attitudes, Routledge, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon;New York.


Charter of Feminist Principles for Pacific Feminists http://www.fwrm.org.fj/images/PFF/PFF-Charter-Final-2Dec2016.pdf


Hawkesworth, M. 1999. Analyzing backlash: Feminist standpoint theory as analytical tool Women’s Studies International Forum 22(2):135-155.


Jolly, M. (2005) Beyond the Horizon? Nationalisms, Feminisms, and Globalization in the Pacific. Ethnohistory 52 (1): 137–166. doi: https://doi-org.virtual.anu.edu.au/10.1215/00141801-52-1-137


Jolly, Margaret (ed) 2008. Re-membering Oceanic Masculinities. The Contemporary Pacific 20(1).


Norlander K. 2013. Empathetic reading. The art of reading a text in its own terms

Swedish Secreteriat for Gender Research.


George, N. (2010). 'Just Like Your Mother?' The Politics of Feminism and Maternity in the Pacific Islands. The Australian Feminist Law Journal, 32, 77-96. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.virtual.anu.edu.au/docview/744489639?accountid=8330


McPhillips, K. (2002) Feminism and Religion in the Pacific Region: Some Critical Reflections

Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 83-90


Ralston, C. 1992. The Study of Women in the Pacific The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 4, No. 1 , pp. 162-175


Trask, Haunani-Kay 1996. Feminism and Indigenous Hawaiian Nationalism. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 21(4):906-916.


Tusitala Marsh, Selina 1998. Feminism: migrant overstayer or model citizen? In Kalpana Ram and J. Kehaulani Kauanui (eds) Migrating Feminisms: the Asia-Pacific Region. Women’s Studies International Forum.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
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Unit value:
3 units

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3.00 0.06250
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