Ten scholars of the University of Guam community contributed knowledge on Micronesian and Chamorro history at the Pacific History Association Conference, convened from Dec. 3–5 in London and Cambridge, England. Led by President emeritus Robert A. Underwood, acting associate dean Sharleen Q. Santos-Bamba of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and assistant professor of Political Science Mary T. Cruz, the Guam cohort of administrators, faculty, graduate students, and alumni presented research papers and chaired panel discussions at the event.
“UOG’s presence at the Pacific History Association is a testament to the high-quality research that faculty members, graduate students, and alumni engage in and share at an international level,” Santos-Bamba said. “Guam scholars are active, elevating scholarship, and expanding professional and higher education networks.”
The conference hosted some 250 attendees composed of faculty, administrators, and students of higher education institutions as well as professionals from various government ministries and agencies, museums, and non-government organizations.
The biennial conference traditionally occurs within the Pacific region, most recently hosted by Guam in 2016. This, the 23rd Pacific History Association Conference, commenced in London to coincide with commemorations surrounding the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook’s historic first voyage into Oceania.
The British Royal Academy set the stage for the opening, with Anne Perez Hattori, a professor of history and Chamorro studies at UOG and also the president of the Pacific History Association, delivering a keynote address that examined the chenchule’ system and Chamorro understandings of gifting and giving.
The conference then moved to Cambridge University, where the UOG cohort presented their papers and led panels on Micronesian history.
“The aspiration of presenters is to take the papers to the next level – that being publication, preferably in a peer-reviewed journal,” Hattori said.
Presenters received feedback on their presentations from attendees and made plans for future collaborations in research, student experience, and teaching.
“The beauty of the PHA conference is that the organization itself and the representatives are concerned and connected to island nations and communities,” Santos-Bamba said. “This is what makes PHA different from other national and international organizations — the focus is on island communities.”
Hattori has been president of the association since 2016 and was re-elected at the conference by the Pacific History Association membership to serve a second two-year term.
The next conference will be held in 2020 in Suva, Fiji, hosted by the University of the South Pacific.
“Our footprint is out there in the international community, and we continue to represent our island, region, and the University proudly,” Santos-Bamba said.
Presentations by the UOG cohort:
• “A Take on Taking: Unwrapping the Complexities of Oceania Gifting in the Chamorro Context,” keynote address by Professor of History and Chamorro Studies Anne Perez Hattori
• “Guahu Taotao Tano’ – Cultural Revival and Revision in the Mariana Islands” by President Emeritus Robert A. Underwood
• “The Mother’s Tongue in Action: Chamorro Women’s Roles in Language Preservation” by CLASS Acting Associate Dean Sharleen Q. Santos-Bamba
• “(En)Gendering Micronesian Pasts: Re-envisioning Gender Histories in the Not-So-Tiny ‘Tiny Islands,’” panel chaired by CLASS Acting Associate Dean Sharleen Q. Santos-Bamba and Alumni James Viernes
• “Malago’ yu’ na u guaha maga’taotao: (De)gendering heroes and nation-building in Guam” by Assistant Professor of Political Science Mary T. Cruz and Alumna Nicole Cruz
• “Garrison Folk and Indios Naturales: Bifurcating the ‘Hagåtña Narrative’ of Chamorro Political and Cultural Continuity in 18th Century Guam” by Associate Professor of History Michael Clement
• “Slippery: The Elusions/Illusions of Recontextualizing Acts in Micronesia,” panel chaired by Professor of English Evelyn R. Flores
• “Mothering from Fo’na to Santa Maria: Collectivity and Changing Perspectives across Guam’s Literary History” by Women and Gender Studies Instructor Leiana S.A. Naholowa’a
• “Indigenous Beliefs and Traditional Values Preserved: An Ethnohistorial and Ethnographic Analysis of Guam’s Taotaomona Narratives” by Associate Professor of Linguistics Clarisa G. Quan
• “Dancing Change: The Role of Traditional Yapese Society’s Negotiations with the Modern” by English graduate student Elizabeth Rutun
• “‘I Can’t Learn that A.B.C.’: Chamorro Masculinities and American Education in Guam’s First Naval Administration, 1898-1941” by Alumni James Viernes. (PR)