Archipelagic American Studies
The Governors-General: Caribbean Canadian and Pacific New Zealand Success Stories
Birte Blascheck, Teresia Teaiwa, 2017. "The Governors-General: Caribbean Canadian and Pacific New Zealand Success Stories", Archipelagic American Studies, Brian Russell Roberts, Michelle Ann Stephens
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Michaëlle Jean was the first governor-general of Canada of African-Haitian/Caribbean origin, and Anand Satyanand was the first governor-general of New Zealand of Indo-Fijian/Pacific descent. Governors-general function as heads of state, but their representational roles also draw attention to the relationships between their respective communities and the nation. Based on analyses of media reports, public speeches, and individual and focus group interviews, this chapter explores the phenomena of “archipelagic diasporas” and “celebrity culture,” and investigates the next generation of Caribbean Canadians’ and Pacific New Zealanders’ perceptions of Jean’s and Satyanand’s success stories. It traces discourses of indigeneity, biculturalism, and multiculturalism, and finds that family, friends, and community are more important to youth than high-profile public personalities. The framework of archipelagic American studies illuminates complex minority and majority dynamics that might otherwise be overlooked by US-centric approaches.