This comment reflects on the contributions to this special section on print culture and mobility in the Pacific. It focuses on the ways in which changing attitudes toward ocean-going mobility and its mass commercialisation in the first half of the twentieth century encouraged new textual and visual forms of appraisal and representation of the Pacific. This, in turn, facilitated the fashioning of new mobile subjectivities, which illuminate a range of gendered and racialized aspirations being projected into the Pacific region from the white settler states around its rim. Together, the articles suggest avenues for further research on the impact of shipboard and island port encounters on forms of Australian self-presentation and engagement in the region.
Frances Steel is a senior lecturer in history at the University of Wollongong. The author of Oceania under Steam: Sea Transport and the Cultures of Colonialism, c.1870–1914 (Manchester University Press, 2011), she is currently working on a history of the entangled empires of Britain and the United States in the Pacific, framed by transpacific routes of passenger shipping and aviation (ca. 1860–1960). E-mail: email@example.com