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Open Access Publications from the University of California

From the Edge through the Vā: Introduction to “Pacific Island Worlds: Oceanic Dis/Positions”


This special issue of Pacific Arts centers on the theme “Pacific Island Worlds: Transpacific Dis/Positions,” which was the topic of a two-day series of events held at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) in May 2018. This generative meeting explored Oceanic rootedness and mobility, grounded and expansive kinships, worlding, place-making, and colonial histories and their legacies. In important ways, it grew out of the “Native Pacific Cultural Studies on the Edge” symposium, also hosted by UCSC, nearly two decades earlier. “Pacific Island Worlds” was dedicated to the memory of Teresia Teaiwa, a graduate of UCSC’s History of Consciousness doctoral program (2001) who had passed away in 2017 and whose academic, activist, and creative work profoundly inspired Pacific studies scholars and artists around the world. Our introduction is a story of two conferences—moments, pauses, in an ongoing flow of historical, political, and intellectual activity.

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