Oceanic Transformations conference

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3rd Conference ‘Oceanic Transformations’ Victoria University Conference Centre, 300 Flinders Street, Melbourne, 8th – 11th April 2010

Call for abstracts by 8th February 2010

The Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies (AAAPS) holds a biennial conference. The first one, "Australia in the Pacific – the Pacific in Australia" was held in January 2006 at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  The next, "Oceanic Connections", was held in April 2008 at the Australian National University (ANU).  AAAPS now invites abstracts for presentations to the 3rd AAAPS conference, “Oceanic Transformations” to be held at the Victoria University Conference Centre, 300 Flinders Street, Melbourne, from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th April 2010. For more information about AAAPS please visit the website http://www.aaaps.edu.au/. Membership is free, if you are interested, please register on the website.

In the 21st Century Oceania, including Australia is faced with issues such as climate change, collapse of global financial institutions and unsustainable agriculture and fisheries. While the globalization of markets has been seen as an inevitable process, recent events point to a need for more attention to be paid to local solutions to global problems within the Oceanic region. Australia’s role seems marked by contradiction. Official institutions are attempting to increase their influence in the region, yet Australians learn less and less from their educational institutions and media about Oceania. At the same time, growing diasporas of Pacific Islanders in Australia are making their presence felt in fields of culture, music, sport, education and civil society.

The Conference will be cross-disciplinary, Papers of 20 minutes duration are invited in the following streams, preference will be given to topics which address the Conference theme but all papers in the field of Pacific studies will be considered. Please email abstracts of 200 – 300 words and brief biographical details (including email and mailing address) to one of the convenors below. Publication of books of refereed papers will be discussed at the conference, together with other modes of publication, including e publication.

Historical Approaches – Jon Ritchie; [email protected]:

Helen Gardner; [email protected]

The study of Pacific History underpins all other approaches to this region: explorations of Pacific economics, health, social and cultural development, foreign relations, and the arts demand an understanding of the trends that have contributed to shaping the contemporary region and its peoples.  And yet paradoxically, the sub-discipline of Pacific History is in decline in Australia.  Why this should be the case, and what can be done to address this trend, are questions that require answers if the study of Pacific History in Australia is to retain its central role in Pacific studies more generally.

Anthropology – Grant McCall; [email protected];

Benedicta Rousseau: [email protected]

Anthropology has an abiding interest in the history, development and current cultural affairs of the Pacific Islands, with important figures (e.g. Malinowski, Firth) in the development of the discipline having done their research there. What is the current state of play of anthropological studies of the Pacific Islands in Australia? Are there “discoveries” yet to be made in social anthropological research? And how might anthropological research on the Pacific Islands contribute to the understanding of “oceanic transformations” today?

Pacific Governments in the 20th Century

Guy Powles; [email protected]

Governments and political systems across the region present a variety of types, and reflect different approaches and values. All are challenged by external pressures and changing local public expectations. This section seeks insights that will increase our understanding of government and leadership. Such insights might include the following, and more – such as how government is composed, eg. women’s roles; how it is constructed or operates, and how constitutional reform is approached; how government responds to the nation’s needs in crucial areas, ranging from citizen’s rights and justice to social development and protection of resources.

Regional Organizations – Nic Maclellan; [email protected]

A good deal of Australia’s relations with the Pacific Islands is mediated through regional organizations, yet they are not often subjected to as much study, media attention or focus by civil society as they deserve. Papers are invited in this stream that offer analysis of current or historical approaches to regional organizations and policies, including intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations, security, environmental or trading organizations.

Teaching and Learning in the Pacific – Irene Paulsen; [email protected]

Education is one of the major areas of spending by Pacific governments; it is a major component of the Millennium Development Goals and a prime destination of Australian aid. Many innovative strategies are being pursued in the Pacific Islands to address many of the problems education faces in Pacific Islands. This stream invites papers on educational initiatives in the Pacific Islands, and lessons which can be learnt about the educational challenges facing small island states.

Environment – Emeretta Cross; [email protected]

The Copenhagen conference was a defining moment in Australia’s relations with its Pacific Island neighbours, how do Islanders see the future from the perspective of all environmental issues, including forestry, energy use, fisheries and what are strategies for sustainable development in the islands and in Australia that do not compromise the environment.

Media and Communications – Sean Dorney; [email protected]

John Wallace; [email protected] Jane Landman; [email protected]

The media play a key role in influencing how Australians see the Pacific, yet we have very few journalists in Australia with a deep knowledge of Pacific Island politics, international relations and societies and cultures. Filmmaking on the Pacific has been of considerable importance in how Australians see our island neighbours. Media studies is now an academic field within Australia and the Pacific universities and hopefully papers will be offered in this field on how to make Australian and other international media more responsive to the region.

It will also cover film-making and production of television series related to the Pacific Islands.

Contemporary Exhibitions and Cultural Events – Susan Cochrane; [email protected]

A new focus on Pacific arts and cultures is highly visible in Australia’s premier cultural institutions, whether acknowledging the aesthetic wealth of Pacific peoples contained in their historic collections, or paying attention to the abundant creative talents of contemporary artists. This stream will concentrate on recent Pacific exhibitions in Australia and cultural events in the contemporary Pacific. The Collections Australia Network is assisting with developing presentations that demonstrate the effective use of new digital tools with collections research, exhibition development and the presentation of cultural knowledge.

Language, literature, linguistics and and Interpreting – Kilisitina Sisifa; [email protected]

Key components in understanding the diverse cultures of the Pacific Islands region

Workshop on Pacific Islanders in Pacific Studies in Australia – Katerina Teaiwa; [email protected]

This session addresses the need for Pacific Studies programs to provide outreach for Pacific Islander communities in Australia. Pacific Studies can be used to create access pathways for tertiary education by linking community needs, and cultural values and concepts, with issues and approaches in Pacific Studies disciplines. Outreach programs also allow Pacific Studies scholars to engage with policies and programs for equity and diversity in Australian Higher Education. Several such programs exist across Australian universities but most do not use methods and content from Pacific Studies to connect with Islanders. The session will be run as a discussion forum.

Tourism – Emma Wong; [email protected]

Tourism is the way most Australians experience the Pacific Islands, it is also a major industry faced with a number of issues of sustainability and now also a major academic field. Papers are invited from those working on issues of tourism from the perspectives of many disciplines, including business, environment, cultural communication, economics and labour relations.

Health – Bev Snell: [email protected]

Health is another major way in which Australia interacts with the region, investment and aid in the sector is growing. Many Australian academic institutions have links with their counterparts in health institutions in the region. Papers are invited which analyse national and community level initiatives being led by Pacific Island countries in key health areas.

Advocacy, Civil Society and Social Transformation – Helen Hill; [email protected]

Australia is a major aid donor in the region, yet Australian Development NGOs frequently do not regard the region as poor enough or oppressed enough to make it a focus for their advocacy work. Pacific Island civil society organizations have a much better understand of the Australian system than Australians do of theirs. This stream invites papers on innovative ways of connecting Australian and Pacific Island civil society and advocacy organizations with a focus on social transformation in fields such as economic justice, gender issues, sustainable agriculture and nonformal education.

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