CAT 124 Course Syllabus

CAT 124 Patrolling the Past to Explore the (de)colonial Gaze

Instructors: Rachel Emerine Hicks & Cristela Garcia-Spitz

Summer Session I 2018

UC San Diego


*CAT124 Patrolling the Past Course Syllabus (PDF Version) used at UC San Diego during Summer Session 1

Course Description:

This course will provide students an opportunity to consider who controls knowledge and how it is shared, preserved, and maintained.  Through an examination of the recently digitized Papua New Guinea Patrol Reports in the UC San Diego Library’s Melanesian Archive, students will dive into first-hand accounts from the post-World War II era of Papua New Guinea (PNG), up through 1975, when PNG gained independence from Australia.  During our journey, we will explore how remote indigenous communities were documented by kiaps or patrol officers, capturing information on village life such as census figures, languages spoken, health, food supply, tribal warfare and other local conditions.  What were the key characteristics noted by these “explorers?”  How did they describe the people of PNG? Who did they have in mind as they wrote these reports? These questions will be addressed as students conduct an analysis of the patrol reports identifying topics and themes. After this course, the topics identified by students will contribute to the library’s digital collection, making the knowledge in the patrol reports more accessible.  This broader accessibility returns to one of our initial questions: Who controls knowledge and who has access to it? We will consider the consequences of making this data available to the wider public and how this process contributes to a (de)colonial gaze.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attain confidence in using primary sources for research
  • Create and curate digital data for public audiences
  • Summarize the “aboutness” of texts
  • Identify key subject terms through analysis of primary sources
  • Understand the process of digitization and the issues around it
  • Evaluate how people and ideas are represented in research and analysis

Course Requirements:

  • Attendance & Participation (20%):
    • Lecture attendance is mandatory.  Lectures will be interactive and include hands-on learning experience, which is vital to the course goals.  Please let Rachel know in advance if you will miss a class meeting.
    • You may miss one class without it affecting your grade.  After that, each additional absence deducts ⅓ of a letter grade from your final course grade (i.e. an A- would become a B+).
    • Students are expected to come to class ready to learn and engage in active discussions.  In order to do this, readings must be completed before class on Tuesday. Completion of readings and active participation in discussions during lecture are part of the participation grade.  
  • Readings:
    • Weekly readings must be done by Tuesday of the week they are assigned to frame that week’s activities.
    • Required readings will be posted on TritonEd or available via links on the syllabus.
    • Students are expected to engage with the text and come to class with reflections to contribute to the group discussion.  These should include, but are not limited to:
      • Aboutness: What is the piece about (summarizing)?  What are the key subjects (depth indexing)? Who is the author? What is the time period it is written?
      • Analysis: How might the aboutness influence the way the piece is written (such as the author’s bias, perspective, or interpretation)?  How is this connected to the course themes, other readings, patrol reports?
      • Questions/Reflections:  Write a question or two for our group discussion.  Was anything unclear? What do you want to know more about?  How can we connect these readings to the larger class?
  • Practicum Hours (20%):
    • 20 hours per week outside of lecture
    • Students will fulfill their practicum through analysis of the Papua New Guinea Patrol Reports, identifying key themes, contextual research to frame the reports, and development of public blog posts using Knit.
    • Specifics of these requirements will be discussed in class.
    • Key themes in Patrol Reports will be recorded in a Google spreadsheet
    • Written aboutness statement for assigned volume
  • Weekly Blogs (30%):
    • Each week students will be given a prompt to respond to and post on the class website.  These posts will be compiled and refined as part of the final project presentation.  
    • Students should read through blogs posted by other students and comment on at least one each week.  These comments should engage with the post and suggest further analysis, commentary, or connections.
    • Blogs will be posted on the class website using Knit. The Knit class group page can be found here. Once approved, you will be able to post on the blog here:
    • Blogs should be tagged with the students’ name, week, and any other relevant subject tags
    • 300-500 words
    • Unless otherwise noted, blogs are due on Sunday at 11:59pm.  Late posts will be dropped by ⅓ of a grade each day (i.e. A would be an A-).  
  • Final Project & Presentation (30%)
    • Due at the start of class, Thursday, August 2
    • The final project will be broken into three elements (presentation, Knit website curation, final blog post) that tie the overall course goals together.
    • In-class presentation (15%):  
      • The presentation will give the background to the patrol reports, identify key themes, explain why/how you interpreted them.
      • This includes final curation of weekly blog posts on the class website, revising weekly blog posts to be viewed by the public, and making sure they are appropriately tagged.
      • Presentations will be done in pairs based on the assigned Patrol Reports.  Each presentation should be 8-10 minutes with talking split evenly between the two presenters.    
    • Final Blog post (15%):
      • The final blog post should be a curatorial post that explains how the subjects terms were chosen for your patrol report while providing a critical analysis of the personal biases influencing your analysis.  You should:
        • Summarize the findings and key terms identified from your patrol report analysis.
        • Take into consideration your background and personal biases in interpreting the patrol reports.  
        • Reflect on the course themes:  Who controls knowledge? How has your perspective changed by analysing  the perspectives presented in the patrol reports and readings?
        • Incorporate at least two of the course readings into your analysis. Consider how the readings affected your interpretation.   
        • Make an argument explaining why you chose these themes and how your analysis connects to topics discussed in the course.  
      • 1000 – 2000 words posted on the class blog.

Required Texts:

  • Required readings will be posted in the shared Google Drive Folder or available via links on the syllabus.

Important Policies:

  • It is the responsibility of all students to familiarize themselves with UCSD’s academic integrity policy. Violations of academic integrity in this course will not be tolerated and can result in an automatic F as well as university sanctions.
  • Students requesting accommodations for this course due to a disability must provide a current Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD), which is located in University Center 202.
  • Students are expected to adhere to the UCSD Principles of Community, especially during discussion sections and when writing public blog posts.

Course Schedule:

Please Note: This syllabus is a living document, which will continue to evolve throughout the quarter.  We reserve the right to change/alter this schedule as the course progresses and in response to class dialogues.  


Objectives: Understand the course expectations; Describe aspects of PNG’s culture, history, and geography; Explain the collection and how to access it

  • Weekly Readings: (this week only, readings must be completed by Thursday)
  • Tuesday, July 3:  In lieu of a class meeting, students must watch all of the following videos and email a typed reflection to Rachel and Cristela by Wednesday, July 4 at noon.  
    • The reflection should highlight: Something new they learned in each video and questions the videos raised or something they want to learn more about.
    • Videos – Note: Students are encouraged to watch them in the order listed
      • Preview of First Contact. Click on the “preview” link – 10 min preview required (Optional: full movie available at media desk for in library use). 
      • Colonist for a Day – Required full video 54 mins
  • Thursday, July 5: Intro to the Pacific and Melanesian Archives
  • Practicum Work and Blog post
    • Visit the Patrol Report website ( and browse through the patrol reports.  For at least one volume, record on the google spreadsheet the area, decade, what’s in it (charts, journal, stats, maps, etc) and initial reactions to what you read.
    • Blog Post: Personal Biography (due Sun, July 8) – Please Respond to the following questions: Tell us about yourself.  How do you identify and represent yourself to others? Where are you from? What college/year are you and what are you studying at UCSD? What sort of experience or knowledge do you have of the Pacific?  Why did you take this course? What do you hope to learn? (Optional: upload a picture of yourself with a brief caption)
      • Tags: Your name, Week 1, and any other pertinent subjects


Objectives: Summarize and categorize readings using subject analysis; Understand the context of your specific patrol report; Explain who Patrol officers were and what they did

  • Weekly Readings:
  • Tuesday, July 10 Colonial History of the Pacific and Library Subject Analysis
  • Thursday, July 12 Patrol Reports Assigned & Identifying Aboutness
  • Practicum Work and Blog post
    • Read through 5 of the assigned Patrol Reports
      • Analyze the information source
      • Construct an aboutness statement
      • Translate the aboutness into controlled vocabulary
    • Blog Post: Cultural Context (due Sun, July 15).  Conduct research on the context of your patrol report.  What can you find out about the geographical area, time period, culture, languages, religion, resources, colonial history, etc?  You are encouraged to explore the vast resources on Melanesian Anthropology available through the UCSD library.  Provide proper citations using APA formatting.  (Optional: upload images related to your patrol report.  Be sure to cite the original source). Feel free to also connect to your own personal interests as you explore the cultural context. At least half of the blog should be about the region and time of your report, but some of it could be broader to PNG and a topic you think is important or interesting.
      • Tags: Your name, Week 2, Report decade, Report area, and any other pertinent subjects


Objectives: Compare the benefits of using primary sources to secondary sources; Consider the implications of digital vs. physical archives; Recognize some of the issues specific to the Pacific and colonization

  • Weekly Readings:
      • Stella, Regis Tove. 2007. Imagining the other: the representation of the Papua New Guinean subject. Honolulu: University Of Hawaiʻi Press. (pg. 1-9, 12-28)
      • Kituai, August I. K. My Gun, My Brother: The World of the Papua New Guinea Colonial Police, 1920-1960. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1998. Review Appendix 1 and choose one of the other Interviews from Appendix 2-6 (Pages 1-12; 19-41 recommended for context)
      • Jane Zhang (2012) Archival Representation in the Digital Age, Journal of Archival Organization, 10:1, 45-68,
  • Tuesday, July 17 Representations of Papua New Guinea; Archival Representation & Politics of Using Archives
  • Thursday, July 19 Visit to UCSD Melanesian Archives & In-class activity due at the end of class
  • Practicum Work and Blog post
    • Read through the last 5 of the assigned Patrol Reports
      • Analyze the information source
      • Construct an aboutness statement
      • Translate the aboutness into controlled vocabulary
    • Blog Post: Aboutness Statement (due Sun, July 22) – Include a draft of your aboutness statement.  Reflect on how you analyzed your sources and constructed your aboutness statements. What was easy about the process?  What was difficult? What are the possible implications from the way you described the Patrol Reports? How might technology change the use of the reports over time, e.g. microfilm vs. online access?
      • Tags: Your name, Week 3, Report decade, Report area, and any other pertinent subjects


Objectives: Evaluate how terminology influences representation and knowledge; Assess the ways the Patrol Reports represent the people of PNG; Consider how cataloguing influences access; Recognize your own biases in subject analysis and compare with other students.

  • Weekly Readings:
      • Watch: Papua New Guinea on Trial Reel 1 (28 mins) – (Reel 2 Optional)
      • Read Selections: Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 2012. Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples. London: Zed. Intro (pages 1-9 required, 9-19 recommended) & Chapter 2 (pages 44-47 required, 47-60 recommended)
      • Read Selections: R : Heather Moulaison Sandy & Jenny Bossaller (2017) Providing Cognitively Just Subject Access to Indigenous Knowledge through Knowledge Organization Systems, Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 55:3, (Required 129-136 and 145-147, skim the rest), DOI: 10.1080/01639374.2017.1281858 link to this article.
      • Optional: Nash, Jill. “Paternalism, Progress, Paranoia” In Colonial New Guinea: Anthropological Perspectives. Ed. Naomi M. McPherson. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001. Pg. 111-124
  • Tuesday, July 24 Word choice and ethics of cataloguing
  • Thursday, July 26 Colonial Representation through words
  • Practicum Work and Blog post
    • Review your partner’s patrol reports for quality check.  Identify key subject terms (without looking at theirs) and record them on a Google spreadsheet.  Why did you choose these words?
      • Meet with your partner (in person or via phone) prior to class on Tuesday, July 31 to discuss the words you each chose and reconcile any differences
    • Blog Post: Words and Representation (due Sun, July 29) – Reflect on how you chose the subject terms for your own patrol reports.  What terms did you choose? Why did you choose them? How was this similar or different to the way you identified subjects in your partner’s reports?  What are the implications of the words you chose for future audiences?
      • Tags: Your name, Week 4, Report decade, Report area, and any other pertinent subjects


Objectives: Recognize your personal biases and modify descriptions accordingly; Evaluate the big picture and what your work adds to the collection; Create a website the increases access and improves user experience; Consider the role of outsiders in representing indigenous groups.

      • By the start of class on Thursday
        • Final Version of Patrol report spreadsheets due
  • Friday, August 3, 11:59 pm
    • Final Summative Blog post due (see description above)
    • Final Curation of Blog posts due
  • Practicum Work and Blog post
    • See Final Project Description above
      • Make edits to your blog posts (based on discussions throughout the course)
      • Make final edits to Patrol Report spreadsheet
      • Prepare a presentation to be given on Thursday
      • Write Final Summary Blog post due Friday

Helpful Information and Links:

Link for PNG Patrol Reports:

*CAT124 Patrolling the Past Course Syllabus (PDF Version) used at UC San Diego during Summer Session 1