Conference: The Gift of the Pacific: Place and Perspective in Pacific history, PHA, 3 – 5 December 2018

Pacific History Association, 3 – 5 December 2018, Cambridge and London

The Gift of the Pacific: Place and Perspective in Pacific history

The Pacific ‘is a gift’, said the late Teresia Teaiwa, in a Victoria University of Wellington podcast. If she was primarily evoking the gift and the fragile inheritance of a extraordinary Oceanic environment – a theatre of life, performance and struggle – the Pacific has figured as ‘a gift’ in manifold senses. Above all, for Islanders who have made their lives, and negotiated colonial modernity and globalization across the region. But also for the Europeans who have famously or notoriously ‘imagined’ the Pacific and sought to intervene in it. And for those scholars, and historians in particular, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, for whom the Pacific has offered a realm of comparative inquiry and storytelling.

Pacific history has assumed increasingly diverse identities, ranging from ethnographic, reflective, local and postcolonial styles through those adopting the frames of the longue durée and world history to those animated by art and material culture, exemplified in the Royal Academy’s ‘Oceania’ exhibition, with which this conference coincides. Pacific historians have engaged place and space on many scales, from the beaches and localities of encounter to the vast ocean and its ‘rim’. The Pacific History Association’s 2018 conference will offer a wealth of inquiry and debate, considering how these diverse narratives and perspectives respond to the gift of the Pacific.

Conference organisers: Julie Adams, Seth Archer, Sujit Sivasundaram and Nicholas Thomas

If you have any enquiries please email

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