Daniel Esparza: Surfin' USA!
A Hawaiian subculture that fascinated the world
How is it possible that surfing, an element of ancient Hawaiian culture, has become the catchphrase of the digital revolution? What powerful symbolic meaning does surfing hold, so that this word has served to designate the fundamental daily activity that best represents the globalized world of technologies, the internet and how to navigate it – i.e., surf the net?
This lecture focuses on the symbolic meanings that surfing has represented in modern societies since the first Europeans came into contact with this exotic activity in Polynesia. It explores the fascination that surfing has generated from the likes of Captain Cook, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Jack London, and even Agatha Christie, until surfing became a hallmark of the rebellious subculture of America in the 1950s and 1960s – with its own music, film & TV genres.
Daniel Esparza, Ph.D., Palacky University, specializes in identity theory through literature, film, and politics, and has published monographs and dozens of academic articles on the construction of identities, and also on the origins of surfing in the pre-Incan culture of Peru, Polynesia, and its diffusion throughout the USA and Europe. In addition, he has collaborated in numerous media, including film documentaries.