‘Pacific spaces – Performing Identities in Diasporic Networks’

Panel session at the 10th ESfO Conference in Brussels

(24-27 June 2015)

Convenors: Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul and Albert L. Refiti

Over thousands of years, Polynesian people travelling the Pacific created their own universe, and wayfinders were tasked with projecting ancient knowledge into the unknown. Engagement took place not only between Pacific neighbours, but with many groups and nations from elsewhere, often (though not always) on their own terms and interests. As contemporary Pacific people travel globally, wayfinding involves navigating diasporic connections and (per)forming new types of spaces, relationships and identities.

Outside of their original home, in places like London, Hamburg or Berlin, Pacific houses have demonstrated the performative power of indigenous buildings’ iconicity and relationality. On the other hand, critical issues arise from an exponentially growing global commodification of indigenous cultures, in which Pacific houses are used to stimulate imagination and identification. In response, Pacific people have called on the power of bodies, rituals and performance to create spaces on their own terms.Papers are invited that address questions such as,

  • Which associations arise out of new configurations between Europe and the Pacific, and how do they manifest in different types or uses of space?
  • How do Pacific buildings in global scenic spaces (e.g., in museums, exhibitions, theme parks and resorts) perform to construct and enact Pacific identities over time, and what types of performance do they enable or prevent?
  • Which new identities are produced in specific trans-local constellations, and how do they relate to notions of authenticity and sustainability?
  • How have Pacific ritual and performance traditions been given and denied space within both the Pacific and in Europe, and how has this shaped relationships?
  • How is the body conceived as site, vessel or repository of cultural knowledge in different Pacific and European contexts, and which powers or vulnerabilities arise from this?

See the link for abstracts:


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