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Rethinking Pacific Studies Twenty Years On

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Title:Rethinking Pacific Studies Twenty Years On
Authors:Wesley-Smith, Terence
Keywords:Pacific studies
indigenous knowledge
curriculum development
LC Subject Headings:Oceania -- Periodicals
Date Issued:2016
Publisher:University of Hawai‘i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation:Wesley-Smith, T. 2016. Rethinking Pacific Studies Twenty Years On. The Contemporary Pacific 28 (1): 153-169.
Abstract:This essay reflects on developments in the field since the 1995 publication of “Rethinking Pacific Islands Studies” first explored a number of intellectual or academic foundations of such programs. It suggests that the pragmatic rationale for Pacific studies, which often has more to do with influence than understanding, and the laboratory rationale, which values Pacific Islanders primarily as objects of study, are both alive and well twenty years on, albeit with more attention among practitioners to issues of positionality, research ethics, and the politics of knowledge. The essay discusses the challenges of realizing the empowerment rationale advocated in the original article but argues that there has been some progress in giving primacy to indigenous perspectives, interests, and epistemologies in Pacific studies scholarship. The essay concludes with a discussion of how the empowerment rationale has informed curriculum and program development at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i–Mānoa over the past two decades.
Pages/Duration:18 pages
Appears in Collections: TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 2016 - Volume 28, Number 1

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