Dr. Lorenz Gonschor - Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Affairs

Office: 014-211

Phone: (679) 32 32996

Email: lorenz.gonschor@usp.ac.fj

Lorenz Gonschor joined the GDIA team at the University of the South Pacific in 2023. Previously he taught in various fields of social sciences at the University of French Polynesia in Tahiti (2020-2023), at ‘Atenisi University in Tonga (2017-2019) and at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (2011-2017). Born in East Germany of German and Masurian ancestry, he first studied anthropology at the University of Tübingen, minoring in political science and history. Thanks to a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service, he continued his studies at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) where he obtained a MA in Pacific Islands Studies in 2008 and a PhD in political science in 2016. Besides working as a teaching assistant, he also worked on the digitisation of 19th century Hawaiian land documents in the context of the AVA Konohiki project at the UH Center for Hawaiian Studies. Since 2017, he is also the section editor for annual reviews of the UH-based journal The Contemporary Pacific. He has been an affiliate researcher with Yunnan University in Kunming, China, and a member of the research team EASTCO (“Research group on traditional and contemporary societies of Oceania”) at the University of French Polynesia, as well as a participant in the research networks “Oceanic Diplomacy” co-organized by Australian National University and USP, the Sydney-based research network “Modern Monarchy in Global Perspective” and the Stockholm-based “Global Diplomacy Network.”

Lorenz’ broad range of research interests include both historical and contemporary governance and politics of Oceania. More specifically, he is interested in the long-term development of Pacific regionalism, as it was first promoted by the Hawaiian government in the 19th century. Based on his PhD work that revolved around this topic, his first book A Power in the World: The Hawaiian Kingdom in Oceania was published by UH Press in 2019. His second book, a revised edition of the Historical Dictionary of Polynesia is forthcoming, and he is working on a third book, a political biography of 19th century Hawaiian diplomat Henry Poor (1856-1899). Connected with his interests in the history of diplomacy and regionalism, he also takes an active interest in the decolonisation of the remaining colonial territories of the region, e.g. French Polynesia, Rapa Nui, and Norfolk Island.

He is proficient in German, English and French (fluently) as well as in Hawaiian and Tahitian (very good) and knows bits and pieces of several other Western European and Polynesian languages.

Academic Qualifications

PhD in Political Science, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

MA in Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Certificate in Tahitian Language, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Intermediate Certificate (roughly equivalent to a BA) in Anthropology, University of Tübingen, Germany


Topics of interest

Government and Politics of Oceania (both historical and contemporary); Pacific Regionalism; the development of international relations and diplomacy in Oceania; Decolonisation (both historical and contemporary); Land tenure; languages and literatures of Oceania; regional focus on Eastern Polynesia (particularly Hawai‘i, French Polynesia, Rapa Nui, Norfolk Island).


Participation in research networks

“Equipe d’accueil Sociétés traditionnelles et contemporaines de l’Océanie” (EASTCO ; “Research group on traditional and contemporary societies of Oceania”), University of French Polynesia

“Oceanic Diplomacy,” based at Australian National University

“Modern Monarchy in Global Perspective,” based at University of Sydney

“Global Diplomacy Network,” based at University of Stockholm


PL 100 – Politics and Government (Semesters 1)

PL 202 – Political Ideologies (Semesters 2)

PL 411 – Research Essay in Diplomacy and International Affairs (Semesters 2)

Recent Publications


Forthcoming [co-authored with Robert Craig]. Historical Dictionary of Polynesia. 4th edition. Blue Ridge Summit: Rowman & Littlefield.

2019. A Power in the World: The Hawaiian Kingdom in Oceania. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.


Edited Volumes

Forthcoming. [co-edited with Sylvie Largeaud-Ortega] Mysteries and Dreams: The French in Oceania. Wilmington: Vernon Press.


Journal articles

2022. Le projet d’ordre royal de Pomare V, ou la souveraineté en suspens : Un siècle avant l’ordre de Tahiti Nui, il y avait déjà une tentative d’établir un ordre honorifique local avec l’accord de la France, dans un contexte de renouement océanien. Bulletin de la Société des Etudes Océaniennes No. 358 (Sept-Dec. 2022): 5-37.

2022. Reconnecting Polynesian Kingdoms during the Age of Empire: Kalākaua, Pomare V and the Plan to Create a Tahitian Royal Order. Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics, vol. 4 (2022): 47-75.

2020. “Ne Tentes aut Perfice:” Early Hawaiian diplomacy in the Southwestern Pacific and the creation of Hawai’i’s First Royal Order. The Hawaiian Journal of History, Vol. 54 (2020): 55-100.

2020. Manuscript XXXIV: ‘The feelings of friendship which We have always entertained:’ Fragments of Tongan-Hawaiian relations, 1880-1888. The Journal of Pacific History, vol. 55, No. 1 (February 2020): 97-114.

2018. [ed. & transl.] “Kau ka Iwa, he La Makani” by W.L. Bishop, Jr. (1887). Palapala: A Journal for Hawaiian Language and Literature, Vol. 2 (2018): 79-85.

2018. [ed. & transl.] “No Hea Mai na Kanaka Hawaii” by Walter M. Gibson (1873). Palapala: A Journal for Hawaiian Language and Literature, Vol. 2 (2018): 70-78.

2017. Revisiting the Hawaiian influence on the political thought of Sun Yat-sen. The Journal of Pacific History, vol. 52, No. 1 (June 2017): 52-67.


Book chapters

Forthcoming. State-building and survival in the global periphery: The Kingdom of Tonga. In Houchang Chehabi and David Motadel (eds.), Unconquered States: Non-European Powers in the Imperial Age, (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Forthcoming. [co-authored with Terence Wesley-Smith] Changing Patterns of Power. In Moshe Rappaport (ed.), The Pacific Islands: Environment and Society, third edition (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press).

Forthcoming. Giving one’s word and giving one’s paper: Hybrid diplomatic agreements between Indigenous Pacific states in the 19th century. In George Carter, Greg Fry and Gordon Nanau (eds.) Oceanic Diplomacy (Canberra: ANU Press).

Forthcoming. No ke Kālai‘āina: Reflections on Hawai‘i as a “developed country” in Oceania. In Manu Kaiama (ed.), The Hawai‘inuiākea Monograph – I Ulu I Ke Kumu: Hawaiian Politics and Economy (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press).

Forthcoming. “Vessels of Potential:” Watercraft as expressions of Oceanian consciousness. In Frank Heidemann and Philipp Schorch (eds.), Experiencing Islandness: Oceans and Beyond (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press).

2022. Nineteenth Century Political Developments in the Islands. In Paul D’Arcy, Anne Hattori, Ryan Jones, Matt Matsuda and Jane Samson (eds.), The Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean, Cambridge University Press, pp. 423-449.

2019. A pan-Pacific synthesis of nation-building: Samoan, Hawaiian, Tongan and American contributions to the first constitution of Sāmoa, 1873-1875. In Seve, Folototo, Togialelei Safua Akeli, Anita Latai Niusulu and Saui‘a Louise Mataia Milo (eds.), Proceedings of the Samoa Conference IV, 2018 “Our heritage, our future: Fostering sustainable development through leadership, innovation and collaboration,” Apia: Centre for Samoan Studies, National University of Sāmoa Le Papaigalagala, pp. 39-50.

2018. Hawaiian Royal Orders and International Diplomacy. In Healoha Johnston (ed.), Ho‘oulu Hawai‘i: The King Kalākaua Era, Honolulu: Honolulu Museum of Art, pp. 55-69.


Annual retrospective reviews

2021. French Polynesia. Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Spring 2021): 192-200

2021. [co-authored with André Nobbs] Norfolk Island. Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Spring 2021): 221-231.

2020. French Polynesia. Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019. The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring 2020): 232-239.

2019. French Polynesia. Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018. The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Spring 2019): 194-202.


Book reviews

2022. Sun Yatsen, Robert Wilcox and Their Failed Revolutions, Honolulu and Canton 1895: Dynamite on the Tropic of Cancer by Patrick Anderson, The Journal of Pacific History vol. 58, No. 1 (2023): 90–91.

2021. Framing the Islands: Power and Diplomatic Agency in Pacific Regionalism by Greg Fry, The Journal of Pacific History, Vol. 56, No. 1 (2021): 92-94.

2020. Hawai‘i: Eight Hundred Years of Political and Economic Change by Sumner La Croix. The Historian, Vol. 82, No. 2 (2020): 250-252.

2019. Return to Kahiki: Native Hawaiians in Oceania by Kealani Cook. The Hawaiian Journal of History, Vol. 53 (2019): 164-167.



Forthcoming. Tahitians and French: Their Mutual Representations Today by Bruno Saura. Punaauia: EASTCO. Translated from the French original, Des Tahitiens, des Français: leurs représentations réciproques aujourd’hui (Papeete : Editions Au Vent des Iles, 2011[1998]).

2021. A Fish Named Tahiti: Myths and Power in Ancient Polynesia (Tahiti, Ra’iātea, Hawai‘i, Aotearoa New Zealand) by Bruno Saura. Punaauia: Maison des Sciences de l’Homme du Pacifique. Translated from the French original, Un Poisson nommé Tahiti : Mythes et pouvoirs aux temps anciens polynésiens (Tahiti, Ra’iātea, Hawaii, Nouvelle-Zélande) (Papeete: Editions Au Vent des Iles, 2019).

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