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Maggie Wander and Marion Cadora co-chair panel at annual conference for the European Society of Oceanists in Cambridge, UK

July 16, 2019

In December 2018, Maggie Wander and Marion Cadora organized and co-chaired a panel on “Intervening Archives of Oceania.” The panel featured presentations on innovative, trans-disciplinary, and trans-oceanic methods and theories working to center Pacific perspectives in the study of art and culture from Oceania. The aim of the panel was to show how interdisciplinary readings of the archive open up spaces and bridge gaps between disciplines in order to combat inequality in the academy when it comes to studying and “knowing” Oceania.

The panel was also structured to provide a platform for graduate students and emerging thinkers who are doing particularly innovative work on redefining the “archive.” Leora Kava discussed contemporary Pacific poetry as an archive of Islander solidarities and sovereignty. Sebastian T. Ellerich presented on his ethnographic study of stringband music in Vanuatu as an archive of political and social histories. Alice Proctor spoke about artist-led interventions in museum spaces as potential forms of decolonization. Eliorah Mallifae discussed Pacific film as a form of storytelling and providing an “infrastructure” for reframing how Pacific Islanders are represented on screen. Bianca Hennessey similarly challenged what counts as an “archive” by looking at the way Pacific Studies groups on Facebook serve as a form of archive by curating a set of resources that can disseminate knowledge in radical departures from nation-state and institutional boundaries. This is a small selection of the wide variety of papers presented in this rich and productive panel.