Icons first, because that's the shorter bit: I had someone ask how large the icon should be for The Tropic of Serpents. Answer is, 100x100 pixels; that's LJ's size limit. And the door is still open for people to submit their efforts -- not because the ones I've received are in any way unsatisfactory, but because I didn't answer this question sooner, and I want to give everybody who's interested a chance to try! Remember, winner gets either a hardcover of A Natural History of Dragons or an ARC of Tropic when those become available.
Now, the research question. First of all, my deep gratitude to everybody who has responded; keep 'em coming. Secondly, some clarification.
I almost feel like I shouldn't have mentioned Hawai'i, because so many people have fixated on that. It doesn't have to be Hawai'i specifically, so if you have recommendations for sources on other Polynesian societies, please share them -- New Zealand, Samoa, wherever. Reason being, what I'm after right now is stuff that will give me a broad sense of what traits are shared across the Polynesian cultural sphere, such that we're able to talk about there being such a sphere. I won't attempt to drill down more specifically until I have that broad sense, because without it, I don't really know where I want to drill.
This means that if, say, there are better writings about New Zealand than there are about Hawai'i, then I'll happily go read about New Zealand instead. I don't need the specific history of any one place, because I'm not writing about that place; I'm trying to invent a society with broadly similar social/political/religious/economic structures. Mind you, I know enough about the history of anthropological writing to know I'm going to be dodging bullets wherever I go (hi, Margaret Mead; how are you?) -- but if there's an area with fewer bullets flying, please do point me at it. :-) As long as it's part of the Polynesian sphere, it's good for my purposes at this stage.
As for history in my own setting, I need to invent the nearest continent before I'll know what I'm doing with that. :-P
(Speaking of which, I should inflate my globe-beachball again and start doing some more worldbuilding.)
This entry was also posted at http://swan-tower.dreamwidth.org/593439.h