The center is involved in a number of innovative, collaborative projects involving faculty and staff from other institutions within and outside the region, such as the University of the South Pacific, the University of the West Indies, and the East-West Center. These collaborative projects expand the outreach of the center, enhance learning opportunities for our students, and capitalize on the strengths of the resources at each institution.
Pacific Alternatives is a research program headed by Edvard Hviding, an anthropologist with the University of Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group. The project examines contemporary connections in the Pacific between expanding perceptions of cultural heritage and the emergence of new political forms, in response to challenges of global political economy. The project includes components of training and education, scholarship programs for students and scholars from Pacific Island nations, scholarly and financial support of cultural centers and museums in the Pacific Islands, a series of international conferences, and a publication and dissemination program that includes a “virtual museum” and a range of educational materials for use in schools and distance learning in the Pacific Islands. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. In addition to the University of Bergen and the UHM Center for Pacific Islands Studies, major partners include the UHM Department of Anthropology, the East-West Center Pacific Islands Development Program, the Solomon Islands National Museum, the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, the British Museum, and the James Cook University Department of Anthropology, Archaeology, and Sociology.
As a part of the Pacific Alternatives research program, an international conference, “Pacific Alternatives: Cultural Heritage and Political Innovation in Oceania,” was held in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, 24–27 March 2009.
Islands of Globalization
Islands of Globalization is a collaborative research and instructional project of East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program and the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, funded by the Ford Foundation. The project seeks to enhance understandings of the origins, nature, and consequences of globalization from the perspective of small island societies, and in the context of changing notions of “islandness.” Islands of Globalization focuses on the Caribbean and Pacific regions and pursues pedagogical, policy, and popular research that engages different types of audiences: intellectuals, academics, and students; artists; policy makers; and members of the general public. The project has established collaborative relationships with educational institutions in the Pacific and Caribbean, including the University of the South Pacific, the University of Papua New Guinea, and the University of the West Indies, to explore historical and contemporary linkages between the regions and to develop shared curricula. Other outcomes include faculty and student exchanges, scholarly publications, and multimedia products. Some of the conceptual issues were explored in a graduate seminar on globalization offered by the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, and in a parallel speaker and film series that included speakers from the Caribbean and Pacific. Center faculty Terence Wesley-Smith is a member of the Islands of Globalization planning team.
UNU Global Seminar
Center faculty participated in the Global Seminar sponsored by the United Nations University, based in Japan, and the School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies (SHAPS) at UH Mānoa in 2004. The 2004 theme was “Negotiating Pacific Identities: Ethnicity, Encounters and Self-determination,” and the seminar involved students from across the Pacific region. Vilsoni Hereniko and Katerina Teaiwa delivered keynote addresses, and Terence Wesley-Smith served on the SHAPS organizing . In 2005 the theme was “Consuming Cultures: Change, Tradition and Choice in Asia and the Pacific,” [link doesn’t work; remove] and the seminar mainly involved students from Asia with a few from the Pacific Islands and Hawai‘i. The theme and structure of the 2005 seminar was partly based on Katerina Teaiwa’s courses, Culture and Consumption in Oceania (PACS 492) and Islands of Globalization (PACS 690). The UNU Global Seminar offered students and young professionals the opportunity to creatively interact with each other and with scholars from across Asia and the Pacific by focusing on crosscutting contemporary cultural, political, and economic issues.
Moving Cultures was a research and teaching project committed to developing innovative forms of area studies focused on the Asia-Pacific region. The SHAPS–based project was directed by center faculty member Terence Wesley-Smith and was funded from 1997 to 2003 by the Ford Foundation as part of its Crossing Borders initiative. Collaborative relations were established between the University of Hawai‘i and seven other universities and colleges in Asia and the Pacific, including the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, Palau Community College, and University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Project members developed regional learning communities using web-based interactive courses or course modules, established exchange programs, held conferences and workshops, and produced publications on area studies issues.
Not to be confused with our earlier “Moving Cultures” project, Culture Moves! Dance in Oceania from hiva to hip hop started as an international dance conference and performance event sponsored by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Victoria University of Wellington. It is now a collaborative project linking dance companies, communities, musicians, educators, choreographers, and researchers. The goals of Culture Moves! are to facilitate links between dance communities and institutions, to promote dance as an essential component of Pacific development and education, and to consolidate Pacific dance studies resources. Culture Moves! embraces all dance genres practiced by Pacific peoples, including traditional, contemporary/modern dance, and hip hop. The Culture Moves! website is available to post notices, articles, images, and reflections on dance practices by Pacific peoples.