We need stories. And not just stories about the stakes, which we know are high, but stories about the places we call home. Stories about our own small corners of the Earth as we know them. As we love them. – Julian Aguon, To Hell With Drowning, 2021
Endorsing Indigenous human rights lawyer and writer Julian Aguon’s call for “stories about the places we call home”, we seek stories and conversations that illuminate fierce attachments to place and the immense beauty, magic and abundance of Oceania.
The 2023 AAPS conference theme “To Hell With Drowning” emphasised the need to resist and reframe fatalist and narrow representations of Oceania. From the highlands to the islands, the conference advanced multiscopic understandings of Oceanic people’s relationships and relationality of places through storytelling rooted in a trans-disciplinary, critical and creative Pacific Studies.
The Pacific Studies community recognises both ancestral and contemporary kinships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, South Sea Islanders, Māori and Pacific Islanders. The 2023 conference was held on a grand scale at the Australian National University, an institution located on the unceded lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people and central to the Australian coloniality that continues to impinge upon the sovereignties of First Nations of this Country and beyond in Oceania. It is also an institution central to the decolonial possibilities envisaged by Pacific Studies.
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