Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Field, Jonathan B.

Committee Member

Morrissey , Lee J.

Committee Member

Manganelli , Kimberly S.


This thesis examines the polarized debate regarding Captain James Cook's apotheosis waging on between anthropologists Marshall Sahlins and Gananath Obeyesekere. By illustrating how and why binary interpretations of Cook's death render a shallow examination of associated travel texts, the thesis re-examines two travel journals resulting from Cook's third and final voyage--journals from the American, John Ledyard and Captain James Cook--and an account, 'Captain Cook's Visit to Hawaii,' taken from Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakaua's (nineteenth-century Hawaiian historian) Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii. Focusing on discussions of trade, this project reconfigures the apotheosis debate in order to highlight the significance of the discourse of trade--both in writing and practice--and how such significance manifests into social, cultural, and political commentary. The documentation of trade in these narratives reveals the communicative properties of trade and how such documentation can be employed as a commentary-based dialogue--one that reconfigures the role of trade into an avenue for criticism. Treating these texts as literary texts, this project offers an understanding as to why each author chose to document trade in the manner that they have, and how such documentation can be situated in the economic, philosophic, and sociologic discussions of trade occurring between the seventeenth and twentieth century.



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