Defining the Pacific: Opportunities and Constraints, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Defining the Pacific

Opportunities and Constraints, 1st Edition

By Fred Spier

Edited by Paul W. Blank


382 pages

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Hardback: 9780754606475
pub: 2002-11-11
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This volume lays the physical and conceptual groundwork for the Pacific World series, exploring both the constraints imposed and the opportunities offered to humanity by the physical environment of the Pacific region. Organized from the perspectives of "Big History" and macro-geography, the volume presents a series of major studies and surveys by authors from a range of disciplines. It opens with perspectives on the ocean, and closes with questions of human settlement, diffusion, and trans-Pacific contacts. Geologists write of the origins of the Pacific, its geological structure, and the problem of tsunamis; climatologists and oceanographers discuss the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the ocean waters; biologists and biogeographers find patterns in the life of the Basin - as is shown, all these have their impact on the potential of the region for human use and settlement. Finally, geographers, anthropologists, and archaeologists deal with the peopling of the Pacific islands, the settlement of the Americas, and the incidence and importance of pre-modern links across the Pacific.


'The purpose of this volume is […] to praise classic scholars and introduce them to a fresh audience. For this service they deserve the gratitude of a new generation of readers.' Bulletin of the Pacific Circle

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Perspectives on the Pacific: Sea and ocean basins as frameworks of historical analysis, Jerry H. Bentley; The Pacific as an artefact, O.H.K. Spate; The other one-third of the globe, Ben Finney; Geographic setting of the Pacific, Otis W. Freeman; Geology, Geophysics, and the Evolution of the Pacific Basin: Development of the circum-Pacific Panthalassic Ocean during the early Paleozoic, Christopher R. Scotese; Reconstructions of the circum-Pacific region, D.B. Rowley; Terrane analysis: a circum-Pacific overview, David G. Howell and David L. Jones; Linear volcanic chains on the Pacific plate, Everett D. Jackson; Some remarks on the occurrence of Tsunamigenic earthquakes around the Pacific, Kumizi Iida; Oceanography, Climatology, Biogeography: Oceanography, Lynn D. Talley, Gerard J. Fryer and Rick Lumpkin; Historical and prehistorical overview of El Niño/Southern Oscillation, David B. Enfield; Paleogeographic conclusions in light of biological data, J. Wyatt Durham; Biogeographic mosaics in the Pacific, Jared Diamond; Human Settlement, Diffusion, and Early Trans-Pacific Contacts: The peopling of the Pacific, P. S. Bellwood; Routes: alternative migration corridors for early man in North America, K. R. Fladmark; Linguistic evidence in support of the coastal route of earliest entry into the New World, Ruth Gruhn; Movement of people and ideas across the Pacific, George F. Carter; Index.

About the Series

The Pacific World: Lands, Peoples and History of the Pacific, 1500-1900

The ’Pacific Rim’ and the ’Pacific Century’ are now commonplace terms, but the whole Pacific region has recently been opened up as a field of historical inquiry. The aim of this series is to present the historical developments and processes involved in the multi-century ’opening of the Pacific’ and the linking together of the lands around and within this great ocean. Particular attention is paid to interactions among indigenous peoples on and within the rim, and the incoming peoples and powers of Asia, Europe, and America. Each volume reprints a set of key studies focusing on a defined topic, together with a new introduction and index, and is edited by an expert in the given subject. This series complements the successful Variorum series An Expanding World, and at the same time provides a research-based resource for this important area of historical study.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General