Modern Monarchy in Global Perspective Seminar | Dr Lorenz Gonschor

Modern Monarchy in Global Perspective Seminar | Dr Lorenz Gonschor

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Modern Monarchy in Global Perspective Hub Seminar Series 2022

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Reconnecting Polynesian Kingdoms during the Age of Empire: Kalākaua, Pomare V and the plan to create a Tahitian Royal Order

Dr Lorenz Gonschor, University of French Polynesia, Punaauia, Tahiti.

On 10 November, 1887, former King Pomare V of Tahiti addressed a bilingual letter in Tahitian and French to the French Minister of the Navy and Colonies in Paris, asking for permission to establish a Tahitian royal order of merit. An accompanying note from Théodore Lacascade, the Caribbean-born governor of the French Settlements in Oceania, elaborated that the main reason for the Tahitian king to create this order was an anticipated visit by the King of the Hawaiian Islands to Tahiti, while the direct model for the order was to be the Royal Order of Cambodia, a South East Asian kingdom then French protectorate. Based on archival documents relating to the planned Tahitian Royal Order, this paper explores the agency of Polynesian rulers in articulating their claims to sovereignty and their mutual solidarity through the use of orders and decorations, within the complex networks of imperialism, colonialism and state sovereignty of the late 19th century while also considering the unique position of the Hawaiian Kingdom within these networks.

Lorenz Gonschor was born in Germany, where he studied anthropology, history, and political science at the University of Tübingen. He obtained his MA in Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai'i in 2008, and a PhD in political science at the same institution in 2016. From 2017 to 2019 he taught at ‘Atenisi University in Tonga, and since 2020 at the University of French Polynesia in Tahiti. His first book, A Power in the World: The Hawaiian Kingdom in Oceania, was published by University of Hawai'i Press in 2019. His research interests focus on historical and contemporary governance and politics of Oceania.

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