New Proposed Sessions
Working Session: Authenticity and Authoring in Pacific cultures
Joyce Hammond convened the session Authenticity and Authoring in Pacific Cultures on Friday afternoon, February 10. Her co-organizer, Jeannette Mageo, was unable to attend. There were five presenters and 10-12 other people who joined into the session. After each presentation, questions were raised and discussion ensued, all of which contributed to clarity and cohesion of the session.
Presenters included Doug Dalton whose paper “Deconstructing (In)Authenticity “examined the origins and development of the concept(s) of authenticity as necessary background for his work on the Rawa song of the flying fox as central to the cultural core. Drawing upon research done with Christine Schreyer (unable to attend), John Wagner presented “Writing Kala: Language Purity and Cultural Identity in Rural Papua New Guinea.” Questions of authenticity and dialect and an emphasis on exploring how speakers themselves talk about their language were among the salient points of the paper. In “Tenues V.g.tales in Beauty Competitions in Tahiti,” Joyce Hammond discussed reasons islanders are likely to consider the garments created from natural materials used in a segment of Tahitian beauty contests as authentic to themselves rather than an acquiescence
to outsiders’ expectations. From Sei O’Brien’s paper, “Noah’s Ark: Tuvaluan Elders’ Response
to the Auckland Museum,” we learned that Tuvaluan elders are overwhelmingly grateful for the museum’s Tuvaluan collections, especially in their desire for younger members of their diasporic community to learn about their ancestral culture. Deborah Waite’s paper “’Barava’: What Constitutes Authenticity?” focused on the multi-dimensional aspects of authenticity tied to changes over time in regards to shell valuables from the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Some
present conceptions of authenticity derive from a reconceptualization of the shells as art created by island artists and acquired by individual collectors, museums and galleries.
In addition to building on some of last year’s themes such as the historical rootedness of the concept of authenticity in Western thought and the meaning and usefulness of some variants of authenticity within Pacific societies, other themes emerged as well, including that of creative friction, global connections, authentic identities and sentiments of being. We see the diversity of our subject matter and approaches as a strength. We plan to reconvene as a working session in New Orleans
in 2017 and continue to welcome newcomers to our session.
Jeannette Mageo, Washington State University, <email@example.com>
Joyce Hammond, Washington State University, <Joyce.Hammond@wwu.edu>