The Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
The center had a full program of seminars and films during the fall semester.
Allen Stayman, Senior Professional Staff, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, presented “Trends and Issues for US-Affiliated Pacific Islands in the 112th Congress” on 24 August. Mr Stayman discussed challenges faced by US-affiliated Pacific Islands States in getting the attention of Congress to address their needs, particularly in a national environment characterized by economic slowdown, high deficits, and deep partisan divisions. The seminar was cosponsored by Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center (EWC).
On 5 September, Te Raukura Roa, Fulbright scholar-in-residence with the UH Mānoa Māori program, presented “Kapa Haka and Revitalization of Māori language.” Raukura spoke about the importance of Māori performing arts for the revitalization of the Māori language. Raukura shared her own experiences and a video of Kapa Haka to showcase the creative genius of Māori poets, composers, choreographers, musicians, singers, and dancers. The seminar was cosponsored by the Māori Program and the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures.
Rangimārie Dot Mules, Alice Te Punga Somerville, Mary Boyce, Te Raukura Roa, Louisa Mosese Teʻi, and Chai Blair-Stahn
Daren Kamali, Fulbright Creative New Zealand writer-in-residence, shared his poetry and spoken word on 19 September. He infuses his Fijian language and draws on chants, songs, and oral traditions in his creative writing and performances. Daren spoke about his journey from Fiji to Aotearoa/New Zealand and the people and experiences that led him to a career as a musician, poet, and mentor for young creative writers. He also showed video clips of performances by the South Auckland Poets Collective, which he cofounded in 2008.
Ponipate Rokolekutu, Tarcisius Kabutaulaka, Daren Kamali, and Jonathan Osorio
Visiting scholar with the East-West Center’s Environmental Change, Vulnerability, and Governance Program, Glenn Banks presented “Resources and Governance in Melanesia: Constraints and Possibilities towards Managing the Local Effects of Large-scale Mining” on 26 September. Banks, Associate Professor, Development Studies Program, Massey University of New Zealand, discussed the importance of natural resources in relation to the central developmental position of the Melanesian nations. Dr Banks used James Ferguson’s 2005 discussion of governance in the context of oil in Africa as a starting point to explore current prospects and projects that look to extend this into the foreseeable future, with massive new developments in Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia continuing this regional resource dependence. Dr Banks’s research and experiences in Melanesia highlighted how key stakeholders contribute differentially to governance of various elements of the mining complex and seek to provide a more nuanced way of viewing the possibilities for and constraints to improving governance of the sector. The seminar was cosponsored by Pacific Islands Development Program, EWC.
Jerry Finin and Glenn Banks
On 28 September, CPIS and Native Voices sponsored an evening of poetry and spoken word featuring Fulbright–Creative New Zealand Writer-in-Residence Daren Kamali, visiting New Zealand–born Samoan poet Grace Taylor, CPIS MA student Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, and CPIS affiliate faculty and Assistant Professor of English kuʻualoha hoʻomanawanui. The poets shared a range of works addressing issues around identity, history, and social and environmental concerns. The evening at Halau o Haumea was an inspiring showcase of the creativity at UH Mānoa and was cosponsored by the Department of English and the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies.
While visiting from the University of French Polynesia, Professor Bruno Saura gave a lunchtime seminar entitled “Representations of Ethnicity in French Polynesia: From Conflictual to Cumulative Identities” on 2 October. Saura discussed how representations of ethnicity in French Polynesia are complex, not only because of the existence of many ethnic communities there, but also because the French Republic discredits any discussion of ethnicity. Advocates of the Mā‘ohi ethnic identity, who claim an identity based on roots, genealogy, or heritage, continually confront the republic’s dogma that recognizes only the existence of equal individuals but no community as such. Saura and the audience discussed the conceptual issues involved and whether there is a way leading from conflictual (or exclusive) identities to cumulative identities in French Polynesia. The seminar was cosponsored by Pacific Islands Development Program, EWC.
On 3 October, the center hosted “Chamorro Voices: Sovereignty, Decolonization, Militarization, Language, and Diaspora,” a panel presentation with UHM undergraduate poet Joleen Togawa Salas, chairperson of Guam’s Independence Task Force Michael Lujan Bevacqua, We are Guåhan cofounder Leevin Camacho, and indigenous rights attorney Therese Terlaje, moderated by CPIS affiliate faculty and UHM English Department Assistant Professor Craig Santos Perez. The speakers reflected on recent indigenous initiatives in Guam and discussed issues of sovereignty, decolonization, militarization, language, and the diaspora.
Maria Barcinas, Therese Terlaje, Kenneth Kuper, Michel Lujan Bevacqua, and Leevin Camacho
On a visit from Washington DC, David Gootnick, Director, and Emil Friberg, Assistant Director, International Affairs and Trade, US Government Accountability Office, presented “Trends and Challenges in the Growing Migration under the Compacts of Free Association” on 12 October. Dr Gootnick and Mr Friberg presented findings from Compacts of Free Association: Improvements Needed to Assess and Address Growing Migration (GAO-12-64, 14 Nov 2011) describing the scale of compact migration to the United States and assessed required federal enumeration of compact migrants. They reviewed the US Census and other data on trends in migration and led a discussion of the impact of compact migration in Hawai‘i, Guam, and the continental United States. The seminar was cosponsored by Pacific Islands Development Program, EWC.
The 2012 Loloma Award recipients, John Falaniko Pātū and Jesi Lujan Bennett (CPIS MA students), gave presentations on projects funded by the research travel award on 17 October. The generous donation to the Center for Pacific Islands Studies provides two research travel awards a year to CPIS students who will contribute to increased understanding of humanitarian issues and will benefit their host community or the Pacific region as a whole. Jesi shared her experiences conducting research in Guam and San Diego in her presentation, “Apmam Tiempo Ti Uli’e Hit (Long Time No See): Chamorro Diaspora and the Transpacific Home.” In his presentation, “‘O Sāmoa e lē‘o se mālō, ‘a ‘o le Uso ma le ‘Āiga: Samoan Nationalism after 50 years of Independence,” Niko spoke about his summer research trip to Sāmoa to attend celebrations commemorating that country’s 50 years of independence.
The center was pleased to cosponsor the University of Hawaiʻi Distinguished Lecture “Nationalism: Change in Consciousness or Fiction?” by Benedict R O’G Anderson on 5 November. Anderson’s Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism is widely considered one of the most influential books of the late 20th century. CPIS faculty and students had the esteemed opportunity to speak with Anderson in an intimate roundtable, Oceania Talanoa, on 8 November.
On 9 November, Tahitian language instructor Steve Chailloux coordinated Tahitian Day, a celebration of Tahitian language and culture. Performers from Samuel Raʻapoto high school in Tahiti performed Tahitian dances and songs, UHM students read poems, and there were workshops with Tahitian ‘ukelele, tōʻere, and pahu (traditional Tahitian musical instruments). The event was cosponsored by the Tahitian Program, Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures, and the Center for Pacific Islands Studies.
The Pacific Connections Seminar Series continued with a seminar by Professor Barry Rolett, UH Mānoa Department of Anthropology, “In the Beginning: An Archaeological Perspective on the Hawaiʻi/French Polynesia Connection” on 13 November.
In this series, scholarly presentations from Hawai‘i and Tahiti are presented using videoconference technology. These live presentations are given by faculty at the University of French Polynesia, the University of Hawaiʻi, and the East-West Center. In this seminar, Dr Rolett discussed the deepest roots of the Hawaiʻi and French Polynesia connection by drawing on archaeological records to examine which islands yield evidence of “founder” sites—ones that document initial human settlement of previously uninhabited landscapes. The seminar was cosponsored by Pacific Islands Development Program, EWC.
The center cosponsored a presentation by Professor Niko Besnier, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, “The Athlete’s Body and the Global Condition: Tongan Rugby Players in Japan” on 20 November at the UHM Department of Anthropology. Dr Besnier discussed the mobility of rugby professionals from Tonga to Japan and addressed questions about the role of the body as a mediator between the subjective and the objective, which anthropologists and other social scientists have generally examined within the confines of specific societies. He also spoke about the increasing mobility across different regimes of valuation that offer highly skilled bodies new possibilities for as well as new constraints on agency.
The final seminar of the fall semester, “Global Travels: Preliminary Thoughts on Tracing Samoan Community Histories of Sport and Mobility,” was given by Assistant Professor Fa‘anofo Lisa Uperesa, UHM Departments of Ethnic Studies and Sociology. on 5 December. Uperesa spoke about her recent research on US territorial status, mobility, labor, and American football. She traced her own family experiences and history through sport, focusing on selected individual and family narratives to consider how and why sport has become more important in Samoan communities (both in the home islands and in transnational communities abroad), the varied meanings and attachments that have emerged, and the tension between opportunity and cost of sporting success.
Pacific Film Series
Galumalemana Steven Percival and Tōfā ‘Aumua Mata‘itusi Simanu Papali‘i
The Pacific film series continued during the fall semester. The series began with visiting filmmaker Galumalemana Steven Percival’s presentation of Exploring the Use of Natural Fibers in Samoa (Sāmoa 2012). Betelnut Bisnis (Australia 2004) and The Orator (Sāmoa 2011) were also featured, and the series culminated with an exclusive preview excerpt of the NOVA-National Geographic television special “Mystery of Easter Island” featuring Professor Terry Hunt, UHM Department of Anthropology. Dr Hunt and his research partner and coauthor Dr Carl Lipo from California State University, Long Beach, spoke about the journey and challenges of testing the theory of how the Rapanui moai (stone statues) “walked” and showed video of the experiments before the national airing of the television special. The program can be viewed online at http://video.pbs.org/video/2299677471/. The film series is cosponsored by the Pan Pacific Association.
Carl Lipo and Terry Hunt with Governor Abercrombie at a reception before for the preview of “Mystery of Easter Island.”