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December 7, 2016 @ 5:52 pm

Ep. 252 “Study Abroad through iSchool Guam: Oral Traditions, Knowledge and Science”

Ep. 252 “Study Abroad through iSchool Guam: Oral Traditions, Knowledge and Science” (hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames and produced by Tom Maxedon) airs 12/2/16.  

From August 25-September 18, a diverse group of eight undergraduate and graduate students were in Guam for a five credit three week introductory course to indigenous knowledge systems and the oral traditions of Pacific Islanders offered for the first time by the University of Washington, School of Information. Through lectures, readings, discussions, field visits and Chamorro and cultural activities, these students explored the concept of information within oral traditions and the relationship to contemporary notions of knowledge and science.

The first half of this episode features an interview (recorded 9/19) with the course professor, Dr. Sheryl Day, who completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Washington and is now a senior instructor and researcher interested in the relationship of people, information, and technology. She was born and raised in Guam and is part of a growing diaspora of Chamorro academics contributing to scholarship on indigenous methodologies. She discusses her personal and academic background, her dissertation entitled “Talking Story: The Militarization of Guahan and Flows of Information in Chamoru Systems of Knowledge” and the backstory to this iSchool Guam study abroad course.   

This is followed in the second half by the commentaries (recorded 9/17) of the three graduate students who participated in this course:  Nikki Andrews,  Maori from New Zealand, who is studying Library Science; Angie Lyons, who is interested in digital communication and the empowerment of nonprofit organizations who work with economically ‘disprivileged’ communities; and Annie Tucker,  a former Peace Corps volunteer with a family legacy of military service. Each shares her personal background in relationship to ‘the fence’, motivation for taking this course, highlights of the Guam experience, and the focus of her final class presentation.  As a framework for discussing Chamoru decolonization projects, students drew from the book, Decolonizing Methdologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, a professor of indigenous education at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

This episode concludes with a Chamorro spiritual chant I Fa'fa'na'gue-ta honoring a teacher of traditional arts, performed by the I Fanlalai’an Chant Group.

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