Between Knowledges: Pacific Studies and Academic Disciplines

Between Knowledges: Pacific Studies and Academic Disciplines In this paper, I critically examine a number of notions about interdisciplinary research approaches to the challenges posed by the world today. I juxtapose this critique with a discussion of interdisciplinary developments in Pacific studies, raising questions as to how deeper dialogues between academic disciplines and the worldviews of Pacific Islanders may be reached. While interdisciplinarity is widely seen as a politically correct agenda for contemporary research on processes of globalization and development, caution is needed against prevailing optimism about the potential for solving multidisciplinary problems through interdisciplinary innovation. Such optimism may overrate the potentials of broad (as opposed to deep) research approaches and may reflect disregard, if not arrogance, toward the complexity of the matters addressed. The drive in some European countries for research on "sustainable development" indicates close ties between interdisciplinary aspirations and the bureaucratic ambitions of research administrators. Under such circumstances interdisciplinarity becomes an object of institutional conflict and internal debate between institutions, as well as between bureaucrats and scientists, more than a question of creative epistemological contact between plural knowledges in and beyond academic disciplines in a search for increased knowledge more generally. The avoidance of such pitfalls in the further development of Pacific studies requires close attention to and appreciation of initiatives from within Oceania, coming from beyond the domains of conventional disciplines. In this paper, such paths toward interdisciplinarity are exemplified in a discussion of epistemological encounters between Oceanic and western knowledges, and with reference to the emerging currents of "Native Pacific Cultural Studies." http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

Between Knowledges: Pacific Studies and Academic Disciplines

The Contemporary Pacific, Volume 15 (1) – Feb 10, 2003

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464
Publisher site
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Abstract

In this paper, I critically examine a number of notions about interdisciplinary research approaches to the challenges posed by the world today. I juxtapose this critique with a discussion of interdisciplinary developments in Pacific studies, raising questions as to how deeper dialogues between academic disciplines and the worldviews of Pacific Islanders may be reached. While interdisciplinarity is widely seen as a politically correct agenda for contemporary research on processes of globalization and development, caution is needed against prevailing optimism about the potential for solving multidisciplinary problems through interdisciplinary innovation. Such optimism may overrate the potentials of broad (as opposed to deep) research approaches and may reflect disregard, if not arrogance, toward the complexity of the matters addressed. The drive in some European countries for research on "sustainable development" indicates close ties between interdisciplinary aspirations and the bureaucratic ambitions of research administrators. Under such circumstances interdisciplinarity becomes an object of institutional conflict and internal debate between institutions, as well as between bureaucrats and scientists, more than a question of creative epistemological contact between plural knowledges in and beyond academic disciplines in a search for increased knowledge more generally. The avoidance of such pitfalls in the further development of Pacific studies requires close attention to and appreciation of initiatives from within Oceania, coming from beyond the domains of conventional disciplines. In this paper, such paths toward interdisciplinarity are exemplified in a discussion of epistemological encounters between Oceanic and western knowledges, and with reference to the emerging currents of "Native Pacific Cultural Studies."

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Feb 10, 2003

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