Episode 85 “The Importance of Scholarship and Civic Reflection on Militarism in the Pacific” (hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames) airs 9/16/11.
In early 2009 the Guam Humanities Council embarked on a project entitled “8,000: How Will It Change Our Lives?” Community Conversations on the US Military Buildup on Guam, to examine the impact of the anticipated relocation by 2014 of military personnel and their families from Okinawa to Guam.
Over a two and a half year period, the Council convened 142 small group conversations with a wide range of Guam residents from college and GED students, the Dededo and Tamuning municipal planning councils, artists and active and retired military personnel to activists, civilian military contractors, legislative staff, community leaders and university professors in forty eight venues across the island. The Council also hosted three large conversation events featuring three visiting Chamorro scholars/writers/artists. Using the “civic reflection” model, these community conversations explored related themes of service, leadership, community, identity, sustainability and power.
Since the project’s inception it was a priority of the Council to use Pacific literature. These selected readings were published in a collection released in August 2011 by the Guam Humanities Council, A Pacific Collection: Readings for Civic Reflection, edited by Kimberlee Kihleng and Monaeka Flores. [To obtain copies, call 671- 472-4460 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org]
Program guest, Dr. Teresia Teaiwa (email@example.com,nz), is one of the 11 scholars and poets whose work is featured in this Pacific collection. She was brought to Guam in August 2011 by the Guam Humanities Council to be part of the multi-faceted reading and discussion project “The Micronesian Question: Issues of Migration, Identity and Belonging on Guam.” In this interview, Dr. Teaiwa makes a distinction between processes of militarism vs. militarization, discusses examples of her research on militarism (including current research on women soldiers in Fiji) and underscores the importance of regional, comparative and trans-generational Pacific Islander scholarship and civic reflection on this subject.
Dr. Teaiwa is a Senior Lecturer of Pacific Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She is a native of Banaba Island in Kiribati and was raised in Suva, Fiji. Her research interests include gender and militarism, globalization, native Pacific cultural studies, women’s history and native feminisms, Pacific history and identity and diaspora. Her poetry rand short prose have been published in a range of international literary journals. Her first collection of poetry, Searching for Nei Nim’anoa (1995) has been taught in courses at the University of Hawai’i and the University of South Pacific. She has two CDs of poetry, Terensia: Amplified Poetry and Songs by Teresia Teaiwa and Sia Figel (2000) and I Can See Fiji: Poetry and Sound (2008). This interview includes Dr. Teaiwa’s reading of the poem, No One is an Island --for Georgie. .
We conclude with the reading of another poem from A Pacific Collection: Readings for Civic Reflection entitled Destiny Fulfilled? by Emelihter Kihleng (read by Nedine Songeni, program assistant,Guam Humanities Council) ). Ms. Kihleng is a native of Pohnpei who was raised in Pohnpei, Guam and Honolulu. She is a doctoral student at Victoria University of Wellington and Dr. Teaiwa is her doctoral supervisor. Her poems have been published in various literary and creative journals. My Urohs, her first collection of poetry was published by Kahuaomanoa Press in 2008.