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Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire$
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Felix Driver and Luciana Martins

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226164717

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226164700.001.0001

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Dominica and Tahiti: Tropical Islands Compared

Dominica and Tahiti: Tropical Islands Compared

(p.77) 5 Dominica and Tahiti: Tropical Islands Compared
Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire

Peter Hulme

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses how the space of the tropics was constructed as a space of comparison and circulation, using the examples of two very different islands: Dominica and Tahiti. This chapter compares the ways in which the peoples and landscapes of Dominica and Tahiti have been described by outsiders. As tropical islands, Dominica and Tahiti have some general similarities: they are roughly the same size, both are mountainous, they have roughly the same population, and Dominica is about the same distance north of the equator as Tahiti is south. However, the histories of Dominica and Tahiti are different in so many respects that the challenge is to find more meaningful ways of bringing them together, ways that might illuminate the nature of “tropical visions.” In trying to bring the islands together, particular attention is given to the ways in which they have been brought together over the past two and half centuries, the ways in which frames of reference have been created in which Tahiti and Dominica both have a particular place, and often a special place—the principal frame being that of the imaginative construction we have come to think of as tropicality.

Keywords:   landscapes, tropical island, outsiders, tropicality, Dominica, Tahiti

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