All posts by Andrew Faleatua



When: Thursday, 17th November 2016
Where: Building Y3A, Macquarie University
Time: 2pm-4pm
Cost: Free

Join us when Dr Peter Brunt will deliver the 2016 AAPS annual Epeli Hau’ofa lecture at Macquarie University.

The Epeli Hau’ofa lecture, an annual national event of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies (AAPS), showcases key senior scholars working in the field of Pacific Studies. It extends the expansive, criss-crossing, connective, collaborative Oceanic vision of Fiji-based Tongan scholar and writer Epeli Hau’ofa. In 2016, the lecture will be hosted by Macquarie’s Pacific Research Cluster.

Dr Brunt’s teaching, research and curatorial interests focus on art and cross-cultural exchange in the Pacific from the late eighteenth century to the present, with a special interest in the development of Indigenous modernisms and Contemporary Pacific art in the ‘post-colonial’ era. He is Senior Lecturer in Art History at Victoria University of Wellington. A widely known and highly esteemed New Zealand-Samoan scholar, he has co-edited Art in Oceania: A New History (Thames & Hudson 2012, Yale UP 2013), and is the co-curator of the forthcoming exhibition Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2018.

Abstract – Dwelling in Travel: Indigeneity, Cosmopolitanism and Island Modernism

Oceanic modernism was a movement born in the cosmopolitan spaces of the urban Pacific, in towns and cities full of urbanised Islanders, rural migrants, settlers, expats, travellers and tourists. Yet travel and cosmopolitanism are not usually associated with the concept of indigeneity, with its strong connotation of attachment to place. The native was supposed to stay put, while the cosmopolitan travelled the world. Modernism reinscribed this myth because while its admiration for ‘primitive art’ was central to its own identity, it saw it as the opposite of the modern. The authenticity of Oceanic (African or Native American) art was determined by its pre-modernity; to be an Oceanic modernist was like a contradiction in terms. This lecture will focus on three pioneers of Oceanic modernism who turned this myth on its head: Wallis Islander Aloi Pilioko, Papua New Guinean Highlander Mathias Kauage and Maori Ralph Hotere. Each embraced the opportunities of travel and the artistic orientation of cosmopolitan modernists. But what, we must ask, if we are not repeat the binary construction of Western modernism, was the relationship between their cosmopolitan modernism and their indigeneity?

The public lecture will be preceded (10am-12pm) by a Masterclass for postgraduate students working in any area of Pacific Studies. Please contact or for more information.

Click here to register


The Asaro mudmen from the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea are famous for their fearsome clay headdresses and ritualized dance performances, and have gained prominence as an ‘intercultural phenomenon’. Join us for a rare and unique opportunity to see the men perform in their holosa (mud masks) learn about the significance of these objects and hear about the background to the Holosa Acquisition Project at the Australian Museum.  Continue reading NIGHT TALK: COLLECTING TODAY – ASARO MUD MASKS FROM PAPUA NEW GUINEA HIGHLANDS

Tides of Transformation Conference Photos

AAPSNET listserv for AAPS Members

AAPSNET is a listserv for AAPS members to discuss issues, seek out advice from colleagues, share information and opportunities, and workshop ideas relating to Pacific Studies. Please do not use this list for non-Pacific related discussions.

To join, please email Cammi Webb-Gannon at c.webb-gannon [at] with your request, indicating your institutional affiliation and whether or not you are a current member.

As always, on internet forums, please debate issues respectfully, don’t share what is not yours to share, and use this list only for its intended purpose.

AAPS response to cuts to Pacific Studies in the ANU’s School of Culture, History and Language

The Australian Association for Pacific Studies has written to the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, Professor Brian Schmidt, to express its concern about the loss of positions in Pacific Studies.


Professor Brian Schmidt
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 2601

Dear Vice- Chancellor,

Re: Australian Association for Pacific Studies concerns about the loss of Pacific Studies academics located in the School of Culture, History and Language

Research in Pacific Studies has long been a core strength of the Australian National University, and has historically been regarded as central to its role as a national university. The Australian Association for Pacific Studies (AAPS) strongly condemns the recently announced cuts in funding for staff in the field of Pacific Studies at the ANU. The Association remains concerned that these cuts will have prolonged, detrimental effects on the capacity of the Australian National University to engage in research and teaching on the Pacific region.

The Australian Association for Pacific Studies was formed in 2004 with the aim of advocating for the international excellence of Australian research and teaching in Pacific Studies, and of promoting public knowledge of the region and the study of Australia-Pacific relations. Our membership includes scholars from across Australia as well as from across the region—many of whom studied Pacific Studies at ANU—and who engage with diverse fields including anthropology, gender, geography, health, history, law, literature/cultural studies, media studies, linguistics, museums/cultural heritage, the arts, political science, sociology, adult education, sustainable agriculture and community development. The AAPS recognises and asserts both the particular significance of the Pacific region for Australia, and the particular responsibilities that Australia has to its Pacific neighbours. Australia is bound to the Pacific neighbours through rich histories of migration and exchange—including histories that long pre-date ‘Australia’ as a nation-state.

Australia’s relationship with our Pacific neighbours is defined by patterns of cultural exchange and through significant economic relationships, as well as through our geographical proximities and through shared ecological vulnerabilities that will only increase in the face of climate change. These relationships are defined by complex colonial histories, including Australia’s own colonial interventions within the region, which are already underrepresented in this country’s national narratives as well as in its school and university curricula. The recognition of this particular significance of the Pacific region for Australia drove the investment in and expansion of Pacific Studies in the post-WWII period. It is this significance that is now being run roughshod over by this wave of funding cuts, and with it the recognition—felt keenly by the post-war policymakers (Lal 2006)—that a successful, productive, and ethical Australian engagement with the Pacific must be founded in deep understanding of the region.

Nationally, the AAPS is concerned that the recent cuts to Pacific scholars in the School of Culture, History and Language, signal and reflect a withdrawal of sustained investment in scholarly engagement with the Pacific region. This is profoundly short sighted, and it will be damaging to the future of Australia’s relationships—cultural, political, intellectual, and economic—with our Pacific neighbours. Our members remain concerned that the effects of the cuts to the School of Culture, History and Language, will be multiple and severe. They include, but certainly are not limited to:

  • The loss to the ANU of high calibre, leading scholars in the field of Pacific Studies. These include Dr Vicki Luker, lecturer and executive editor of The Journal of Pacific History, ARC Future Fellow Stuart Bedford, Associate Professor Paul D’Arcy, and Associate Professor Mark Donohue. Those that have been, or will be lost also include a significant number of early and mid career researchers, and to this extent the cuts represent a profound attack on the next generation of Pacific Studies scholars and on the future of Australian Pacific Studies scholarship.
  • A radical reduction in the capacity of the ANU to support the growth of Pacific Studies scholarship by Pacific scholars. This has long been a strength of the ANU, and a key plank of its importance as Australia’s national university.
  • Nationally, the gutting of what has long been the heart of Australian Pacific Studies. Indeed, the ANU Pacific Studies Program is the only Pacific Studies Program in Australia.  These cuts threaten Australia’s position as a site of international research excellence in the field.
  • A marked diminishment of the kinds of scholarship and deep understanding that make possible vibrant people-to-people relationships between Australia and the Pacific Islands, as well as strong and successful political, economic, and security relationships.
  • The impoverishment of Australia’s sense of itself, and of its place in the Pacific region and in the world.
  • The impoverishment of Australia’s knowledge of its history, and of the kinds of futures it is able to imagine and build for itself.
  • The impact on the morale and capacity of our Asian Studies colleagues.

The AAPS calls on the ANU to act immediately to reverse these short sighted and deeply damaging cuts to Pacific Studies. We urge the Vice-Chancellor and the leadership of the ANU to demonstrate strength of vision by recognising the deep significance of the Pacific region for Australia, and to act with courage and integrity to ensure the ongoing centrality of Pacific Studies within the University.

Passed as a resolution of the Executive Committee of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies on the 3 June 2016.