ABSTRACT. In this article, I interweave my experiences as a Papua New Guinean activist and student of critical theory in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland, New Zealand) to explore the relationship and role of critical theory in Oceania today. In this, though it is perhaps problematic, I use critical theory as a blanket term to account for various traditions of critical thought, including the radical Black tradition and critical race theory. I link them via what I believe to be the underlying gesture involved in critique and the critical tradition, namely, that knowing is not sufficient, that all knowledge must be accompanied by the drive to change the world for the better. This is not to treat these traditions as unified, singular, or homogenous, as they are by their very nature contested, but rather to try and link them through a common drive. In doing so, I introduce the role of Oceanic critical theory, showing how critical theory travels to Oceania, but, also, how Oceanic critical theory challenges how critical theory operates today, examining what it is that other traditions may begin to learn from Oceanic critical thought. As such, this article explores the lessons, both positive and negative, that have arisen from experiments with critical theory, from trial and error, and how these lessons have come to shape my activism today.

Keywords: critical theory; Papua; Pacific; Oceania; activism

How to cite: Rew, N. (2022). Black indigeneity and oceanic critical theory. Knowledge Cultures 10(3), 70–83.

Received 09 August 2022 • Received in revised form 18 November 2022
Accepted 18 November 2022 • Available online 01 December 2022

Nathan Rew
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Waipapa Taumata Rau/University of Auckland
Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand

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