An institute for critical education in the South Pacific

A ʻAtenisi picture

ʻOtuhaka (2009)


E.L. 102 – Writing Laboratory

Hands-on supervision of written expression in the English language, focusing on clarity, concision, coherence, organization, vocabulary, grammar, and – as the student advances – elegance and captivation.

HST. 100 – Introduction to Global History

The course not only traces the development of ancient Mediterranean empires but ancient Middle Eastern, North African, sub-Saharan African, Indian, Chinese, and native American civilisation as well. Within the ancient world, the Sumerian and Semitic-speaking civilisations of the Tigris/Euphrates Rivers, the Nile River, and the Levant are contrasted with the Indo-European speaking civilisations of Persia, Greece, and Rome, with the tension between tyranny, oligarchy and populism closely studied in the latter two. Medieval Islamic and Indian cultures are credited with preserving classical interest in philosophy and mathematics, enabling the European Renaissance. The hegemony of Anglophone capital and liberalism in the late second millennium is comprehensively detailed whilst the challenges of Spain, France and Germany – and later Russia, Italy and Japan – are as well analysed, with particular attention paid to Luther, Calvin, the Inquisition, the French Revolution, National Socialism, Leninism, and Islamism. The course concludes with a contemporary survey of rising economic power in China and India.

PAC. STUD. 120 – Introduction to Tongan History

An account of the development of the Polynesian kingdom from Lapita settlement in the first millennium B.C. to its current transition towards parliamentary democracy. The course mediates the controversy regarding Tonga’s purported regional hegemony of the 14th and 15th centuries – i.e., empire or commercial coordinator? It next considers Tonga’s adaptation of selected European constructs, including fervent conversion to Christianity from the late 1820s. Special attention is paid to the nation-building of its first monarch, George Tupou I, including the abolition of serfdom in 1862 and introduction of constitutional government in 1875.

PHIL 100 – Introduction to Philosophy

A survey of key philosophers beginning from the Milesian Substantialists of ancient Greece (e.g., Thales, Anaximander) to the European existentialists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Milesians are examined as the bridge from mythology to naturalism; Herakleitos as the pioneer of a dynamic paradigm of interactive instability; Socrates as the trailblazer of investigative inquiry; Plato and Aristotle as the opposing forerunners of idealist and empirical philosophy. The course next credits Descartes, Spinoza, and Hume with inaugurating rigourous analysis in the 17th and 18th centuries whilst the counterpoint of German idealism (e.g., Kant, Hegel) is studied as a critique of rationalism and empiricism. Finally, 19th and 20th century existentialism (e.g., Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus) is variously considered as an individualist riposte to institutional theology, empiricism, idealism, and social democracy.


ECON 150 – Macroeconomics

The discipline examines the factors that influence the development and growth of national economies, the design of monetary and fiscal policy, and the role played by markets and institutions in influencing economic activity. Areas of focus include: open-economy macroeconomics, including business cycles, exchange rate dynamics, capital flows, and financial crises; finance, including the implications of global integration, the role of credit market imperfections, and systemic risk; development, including models of productivity and multi-sector growth, as well as the impact of economic reforms on economic growth.

POL. STUD 110 – Introduction to International Relations

International relations theory attempts to answer the question, ‘Why do states behave the way they do?’ The course will follow the outline proposed by Stephen Walt in 1998 when he wrote, “the study of international affairs is best understood as a protracted competition between the realist, liberal, and radical traditions.” The class will assess these main theories and test them against the evidence of current state practise. Following Walt’s paradigm, it will then evaluate the relevant constructs of philosophers, scholars and statesmen such as Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, Vladimir Lenin, Henry Kissinger, and Mahatma Gandhi.

PSYCH 100 – Introduction to Social Psychology

An interdisciplinary examination of the psychology of social groups. The birth of social psychology is attributed to Triplett and LeBon, whilst the Allport brothers and Lewin are primarily credited with its further development in the 1930s. The discipline generally studies concepts of the self within groups, as well as social perception and attitudes; these components are then presumed to interactively shape social conformity, affiliation, cohesion, and cooperation, as well as rebellion, alienation, aggression, and conflict. The course concludes by examining these components in the arenas of politics, the media, sports, law, business, and health.

SOC 175 – Community Development

Community development organises residents in local neighbourhoods to engage issues that influence their lives. The goal of the process is to incrementally nurture active, cohesive, sustainable, and supportive communities that compel power structures to remove barriers that discourage grassroots participation. The guiding principles of community development are empowerment, cooperation, capacity attainment, and governance committed to social justice.


PHYS 100 – Introduction to Physics

The course initially covers the classical and elementary concepts of physics: the laws of Newton, linear kinematics, rotational kinematics, dynamics, forces, energy, gravity. Calculus (goniometrics, vectors, functions, differentiations, integrations) will be introduced where needed for exposition. Measurements, units, measurement accuracy will be addressed as well, including an analysis of accidental measurements errors and how to negotiate them, with relevant practical examples. Advanced topics may also be pursued, such as optics, fluid dynamics, and gas theory. Linear kinematics; Mathematical tools; General kinematics, rotations, reference frames; Measurements, units; Measurement error analysis; Newton’s laws, inertia, momentum; Forces, work, energy; Gravity; Dynamics of rotation, vibrations; Elective advanced topics.

PHYS 150 – Introduction to Astronomy

The course launches with a history of the discipline. It next considers observational, spherical, and planetary astronomy, including supernovae, neutron stars, and black holes. Physical topics include gravitation, forces, optics, and radiation.


ARCH 100 – Introduction to Architecture

A survey of the techniques of structural design, including material (e.g., wood, stone, brick, concrete, iron, steel); device (e.g., truss, dome, vault); and modality (e.g., building, plaza, mall). The course next focuses on the synthesis of form, space, and arrangement once material, device, and modality have been selected.

E.L. 150 – Creative Writing

A toolkit for the aspiring poet, novelist, playwright, or screenwriter. Students are initially acquainted with various types of figurative language, including metaphors, similes, and personification. They are next trained to deploy descriptive imagery. The course concludes by focusing on the components of narration, including setting, characters, rising and falling action, climax, and resolution.

T.C. 100 – Tongan Faiva

An online tutorial introducing the student to Tonga’s traditional music and dance forms. Movement component focuses on simplicity of expression, fundamentals of performance, and recruitment of audience participation.