Tides of Transformation: Pacific Pasts, Pacific Futures

The 6th Biennial Conference of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies

The Cairns Institute, James Cook University
Cairns, North Queensland, Australia
1-3  April, 2016

Through this interdisciplinary conference the Australian Association for Pacific Studies, in collaboration with the Cairns Institute, seeks to bring researchers together to share their knowledge and experience about critical dimensions of social and environmental transformation in the Pacific. The following panels have been submitted and accepted by the conference organising committee:

  • Pan-Pacific Music of Protest
  • Shifting Cultures, Shifting Languages: A Pacific Perspective
  • Transference: Continuity in Time, Time in Continuity
  • Possessing Paradise: Commodification and Desire in the Pacific
  • Tourism, Culture and Heritage in the Pacific: Transformation or Marginalisation?
  • Transforming Gender Relations in the Pacific
  • Adaptation, Resilience and Changing Land and Marine-based Livelihood Systems in the Pacific
  • Digital Transformations: Shifting Communication Spaces in the Pacific
  • Pacific Legal Systems, Past, Present and Future
  • Joining the Dots – Abandoned Histories
  • Managing and Understanding the Role of Archaeological and Cultural Heritage in the Pacific
  • The Interdisciplinary Panel on Climate Change
  • Mobile Labour, Mobile Lives
  • Aging in the Pacific: Intergenerational and Transnational Care
  • TransOceanik: Creole Connections across the Pacific, the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans
  • Through the Lens: Visualising Pacific Lives
  • Emerging Research: Postgraduate Student Panel

We now warmly invite papers for these panels.

Paper abstracts should be 300 words or less and should be accompanied by the contact details of the presenters. Please email paper abstracts directly to the panel convenors (see details in the the Call for Papers)

AAPS Conference Call for Papers

Deadline for submission: 1st December 2015. For general enquiries regarding the conference, please contact:

Kalissa Alexeyeff

Counter Networks of Empire

Reading Unexpected People in Unexpected Places
Convenors:  Tracey Banivanua Mar and Nadia Rhook

Friday 6 November, 2015, 10:00–5:30  La Trobe University Franklin St City Campus, 215 Franklin St, Melbourne.

Counter Networks of Empire copy

In the last decade, scholars have illuminated the ways Empires, particularly of the nineteenth century were founded on and maintained by networks of people, goods, and ideas. This symposium stretches, perhaps challenges, the ‘imperial networks’ framework. Participants are invited to shine a spotlight on networks that ran counter to the well-documented imperial ones established by settlers, planters, missionaries and government officials that spread across, within and around the Pacific world. These might include networks, for instance, between Indigenous peoples and people of colour, who may have been suppressed, ignored, or reviled by those who penned nineteenth century archives. Speakers will explore transoceanic, transborder or transcolonial alliances, lateral connections, solidarities, and resistance movements, variously formed out of sight, in the peripheral vision, or at times, in full-frontal view of imperial and colonial powers. How have counter networks formed, mobilized, and mattered in the imperial past and the ‘post’colonial present? What were the connections made by people in transit, and can we read into this any kind of lasting, fleeting or contingent impacts?

Keynote: Alan Lester
Speakers: Tracey Banivanua Mar; Tony Birch; Keith Camacho; Liz Conor; Penny Edmonds; Nadia Rhook; Damon Salesa; Sophie Loy-Wilson

Please RSVP to: or

Mobile Branding: Creating Consumer-Citizens across the Caribbean and Pacific

The forthcoming Joel Kahn Anthropology Lecture 2015 is on the topic of Mobile Branding: Creating Consumer-Citizens across the Caribbean and Pacific

Thursday, 24 September, Melbourne
6pm, La Trobe University, Bundoora campus, ELT 3

Presented by: Associate Professor Heather Horst (RMIT University)

The growth of the mobile phone use around the world has corresponded with an increase in advertising for new mobile telecommunications services and a range of promotions and sponsorships. From billboards, signs and radio jingles to branded t-shirts, bags and umbrellas, advertisements and other branding strategies are designed to develop demand for an evolving suite of mobile-enabled services, often by drawing aesthetic connections between mobile companies and local, national and global senses of belonging. This talk compares the development of mobile telecommunications branding by one company – Digicel Ltd –  in the Caribbean and Pacific and their efforts to create consumer-citizens across these contexts. Combining attention to the semiotics of advertising with the reactions to these branding strategies by users, I suggest that being and creating a mobile phone consumer cannot be understood outside the broader state-company relationships that shape the global telecommunications landscape.

Associate Professor Heather Horst is Director, Research Partnerships in the College of Design and Social Context and the Founding Director of the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. Her research focuses upon understanding how digital media, technology and other forms of material culture mediate relationships, communication, learning, mobility and our sense of being human. Her books examining these themes include The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication (Horst and Miller, Berg, 2006), Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with Digital Media  (Ito, et al. 2010, MIT Press),  Digital Anthropology (Horst and Miller, Eds., 2012, Berg) and Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practices (Pink, Horst, et al. Forthcoming, Sage).  Her current research, supported by the Australian Research Council and an EU Horizon 20/20 grant, explores transformations in the telecommunications industry and the emergence of new mobile media practices across the Asia-Pacific region.

PNG 40th Anniversary National Film and Sound Archive Events

PNG 40th anniversary at the NFSA - activity programAustralians have long crossed the Torres Strait to make films in Papua New Guinea. Between 1906 and 1975, the territories of Papua and New Guinea were Australian protectorates, and cinema played an important role in promoting the colonial agenda to an audience at home and abroad.

In the 1930s, gold prospectors penetrated the highland areas of central New Guinea with maps and bulky 35mm camera equipment only to find a population of one million people living in its mountainous valleys. Following the Pacific War, Australians were increasingly keen to learn more about their northern neighbours and the Film Australia Collection provides a unique insight into the history of PNG at this time through the lens of the government filmmaker.

In the early 1970s, a new generation of young, politically aware Australian filmmakers arrived in PNG to document the extraordinary period of change preceding independence in 1975.

To mark the 40th anniversary of independence, the National Film and Sound Archive are presenting a season of films from all these eras, including significant Australian filmmakers and historians to personally present these films and discuss their historical, social and political context, including Michael Waterhouse, Gary Kildea, Andrew Pike, Les McLaren and Bob Connolly.

National Film and Sound Archive Website

PNG 40th anniversary at the NFSA – activity program

Tides of Transformation: AAPS 2016 conference call for panels issued

The Australian Association for Pacific Studies (AAPS) will have it’s 6th Biennial Conference from 1-3 April, 2016, at The Cairns Institute, James Cook University Cairns, North Queensland, Australia. The theme of the conference is Tides of Transformation: Pacific Pasts, Pacific Futures

Tides image

Conference Conveners: Professor Rosita Henry and Associate Professor Douglas Hunt (JCU).

Through this interdisciplinary conference the AAPS, in collaboration with the Cairns Institute, seeks to bring researchers together to share their knowledge and experience about critical dimensions of social and environmental transformation in the Pacific. We warmly invite panel proposals and papers that engage with issues that impact on the current and future wellbeing of peoples of the Pacific. 

Panel abstracts should be 300 words or less and should be accompanied by the contact details of the convenor/s. Please email panel abstracts to Kalissa Alexeyeff
(deadline: 30 September, 2015).

Paper abstracts will be called for once all panel proposals have been submitted 

Inaugural Epeli Hau’ofa Lecture Cairns

Associate Professor Tracey Banivanua Mar (La Trobe University) delivered an inspiring inaugural Epeli Hau‘ofa Annual Public Lecture entitled Black Australia: entangled histories on Queensland’s cane fields, followed by a moving presentation by Melbourne-based filmmaker Amie Batalibasi at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University on 29 May 2015.

Tracey Banivanua Mar

Banivanua Mar fittingly began her lecture by acknowledging the work and legacy of Faith Bandler who passed away on February 13, 2015. Banivanua Mar spoke of moments of resistant politics on the fringes of Queensland sugar towns in the nineteenth century, protests against deportation in 1906 and the Black Power inspired struggles for recognition in the 1970s, showing how through these Australian South Sea Islanders, Murris and Islanders in the Pacific have together produced powerful forces for change. Although often consisting of contingent moments of connection, rather than enduring political networks, she argued that this is a historical narrative yet to receive the acknowledgement it deserves. If measured from the criteria implied by Hau’ofa’s eloquent plea to overcome the smallness and disconnection of the colonial era, these political moments were significant formations of internal decolonisation. Amie Batalibasi discussedAAPS Presentation_ Amie Batalibasi_Image by Jacintha Bezgovsek WEB artistic projects that she had worked on with Australian South Sea Islander descendants. She showed examples from these collaborative films and discussed her latest project Blackbird, a short historical drama film set in the early 1870s that narrates the story of a brother and sister from Solomon Islands who are made to work on Queensland’s sugarcane fields. Her work provides a clear contemporary illustration of the political projects outlined in Banivanua Mar’s lecture and signalled the new ways Australian South Sea Islander histories and futures are being further decolonised.
(Image credits: Tracey Banivanua Mar photo by Iva Ponton; Amie Batalibasi photo by Jacintha Bezgovsek)

The inaugural lecture was preceded by the Annual AAPS AGM. The two and a half hour meeting covered election of the new Executive Committee and the implementation of membership fees voted on at the 2014 AGM. The AAPS Website, designed by Rachel Morgain, was presented and launched to much acclaim! Plans for the next AAPS conference were discussed. The conference Tides of Transformation: Pacific Pasts, Pacific Futures will be held at James Cook University in Cairns and is being organised by Rosita Henry and Doug Hunt, from 1 to 4 April 2016.

The AAPS executive expresses sincere thanks to Associate Professor Rosita Henry of James Cook University, Cairns Institute Director Professor Stewart Locke and Associate Professor Doug Hunt for facilitating our 2015 AGM and annual lecture, and for volunteering to host the 2016 conference. Thanks particularly to Jenny McHugh for her work on organizing these events.

AGM Cairns 2015

The Annual General Meeting for the Australian Association of Pacific Studies has been called:

Friday 29 May (1.30-4pm)
Cairns Institute, James Cook University

Followed by the Inaugural Epeli Hau’ofa Annual Lecture (5-7pm) 
Associate Professor Tracey Banivanua-Mar in dialogue with filmaker Amie Batalibasi