Several months ago a friend said he was going to Fiji for a conference about writing. He didn't go after all - his Uni wouldn't fund him!
I found out that it was a conference on Epistemology. Er...what? I had to look it up. Apparently it's about knowledge, meaning, point of view - that sort of things. What a great idea for Pacific people to look at knowledge in lateral ways, not just through a Western model of 'seeing', an imposed model.
The conference is on at the USP this week and I wish I was there!!!! The conference website introduces the conference as follows:
Vaka Vuku: Navigating Knowledge
Pacific Epistemologies Conference
July 3-7, 2006, at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji
'Vaka' translates as canoe in Polynesian. In an Oceanic mind, 'canoe' connotes travel, visiting and taking gifts, connecting with other clans and tribes, a means to a livelihood, and a part of a family. Some Polynesian languages use the word wa'a or va'a. In Kiribati wā is used. The word 'vuku' is from Fijian. As a noun, it refers to wisdom, or a body of knowledge. As a person, it is someone who knows.
Vaka vuku: Canoes of wisdom and knowledge and people who know.
You can download some pertinent articles e.g. Emerging Epistemologies, by Professor Subramani. (More about him in a later blog because he wrote a very interesting novel in Fijibhat - Fiji Hindi - which unfortunately I cannot read. I once could read and sing bhajans but have lost most of that skill these days through lack of practice.)