Austronesian Connections Symposium (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Interdisciplinary Austronesian
Connections Symposium

HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I—The inaugural Interdisciplinary Austronesian Connections Symposium asks the question, “What value does the ‘Austronesian’ label have as an organizing category outside of linguistics and anthropology?” Whereas conferences and other gatherings at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) have focused on regions such as Oceania or parts of Southeast Asia, there have not been any that focus on Austronesia as a whole, which consists of Oceania (viz., Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia), Insular and Peninsular Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Madagascar.

The planned symposium, however, is more than just a broad area studies event. Although “Austronesia” is defined in fields such as linguistics, archaeology, and social/cultural anthropology, the term as an organizing category deserves critical reflection, especially on the part of people who are “considered” to be Austronesian. This symposium will attract people within and outside of academia to share in the conversations about what “being Austronesian” means today, particularly in contexts in which such a pan-ethnic label can lead to solutions-based action.

Symposium highlights include opening remarks by Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman and closing remarks by Dean R. Anderson Sutton (School of Pacific and Asian Studies). The following individuals will present in moderated panels:

  •  Dr. Robert Blust (UHM, Linguistics)
  •  Anita Wen-Shin Chang (independent filmmaker)
  •  Dr. Marianne George (The Vaka Taumako Project)
  •  Dr. Akiemi Glenn (Te Taki Tokelau Community Development, Inc.)
  •  Lorenz Gonschor (UHM, Political Science)
  •  Dr. Anthony P. S. Guerrero (UHM, Psychiatry)
  •  Dr. Roderick Labrador (UHM, Ethnic Studies)
  •  Dawn Mahi & Innocenta Sound-Kikku (Kōkua Kalihi Valley)
  •  Dr. Alexander Mawyer (UHM, CPIS)
  •  Emerson Odango (UHM, Linguistics)
  •  Dr. Te Raukura Roa (UHM, Māori Language & Literature)

The Symposium is co-sponsored by the following entities:

  •  Center for Pacific Islands Studies
  •  Center for Philippine Studies
  •  Center for Southeast Asian Studies
  •  College of Languages, Linguistics, & Literature
  •  College of Social Sciences
  •  Department of Anthropology
  •  Department of Ethnic Studies
  •  Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures
  •  Department of Linguistics
  •  Department of Psychiatry
  •  Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge
  •  John A. Burns School of Medicine
  •  Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies
  •  Pacific Islands Development Program (East-West Center)
  •  School of Pacific and Asian Studies

The Interdisciplinary Austronesian Connections Symposium will be held on Friday, May 1, 2015 in Burns Hall 3121/3125 from 9AM to 6PM. The event is free and open to the public. However, due to limited seating in the venue, pre-registration is required. The deadline for pre-registration is Tuesday, March 31. To pre-register, directly contact the event organizer, Emerson Odango (e-mail:, cell: 757-419-6030). Please contact the organizer with any questions, including disability access concerns. Food and beverages (coffee and tea) will be available for pre-registered participants. To promote sustainability, participants are encouraged to bring their own reusable containers/vessels and utensils.

This symposium is funded by private contributions from alumni and friends
of the Colleges of Arts & Sciences.

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution