Saturday, March 5, 2011

Language and Cultural Truth in Pacific Writing

Baining Fire Dancer
I will present a public lecture as part of my responsibilities as the Arthur Lynn Andrews Chair in Pacific and Asian Studies. The public lecture is a collaboration between the English Department, the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawaii and the East West Center Pacific Islands Development Program. 

English Department Colloquium

"Metonymic Function of Language and Cultural Truth in Pacific Writing,"
by Steven Winduo, University of Papua New Guinea and
Arthur Lynn Andrews Chair in Pacific and Asian Studies at UH Mānoa.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

3:00 pm

UHM Kuykendall Hall, Room 410

Most literary texts in Oceania employ English as the main language of writing. The choice of English rather than the indigenous languages is preferred for a number of reasons, but with an "overlap" of language that occurs when texture, sound, rhythm, and words are carried over from the mother tongue to the adopted literary form, or when the appropriated English is adapted to a new situation. A writer may take as evidence of his or her ethnographic or differentiating function an insertion of the "truth" of culture into text (sometimes conceived as an insertion of its essential cultural "purity"). In this lecture Dr Winduo considers how various postcolonial textual strategies are at work in the English literary texts of Oceania. He argues that insertion of indigenous languages into English texts of Oceania has an important metonymic function that has received little attention by scholars of Pacific literature.

Steven Winduo is an author, a poet, and a senior lecturer in English at the University of Papua New Guinea. He is the Andrews Chair in Asian and Pacific Studies at UH Mānoa for spring semester 2011 and a visiting fellow with the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center. Dr Winduo is one of the foremost writers of Papua New Guinea. He has published three poetry collections—Lomo'ha I am, in Spirits' Voice I Call (1991), Hembemba: Rivers of the Forest (2000), and A Rower's Song (2009)— and a short-story collection, The Unpainted Mask: A Collection of Short Stories (2010). He founded and edits Savannah Flames: A Papua New Guinean Journal of Literature, Language, and Culture.

The presentation is open to the public, free of charge. It is cosponsored by the UHM Center for Pacific Islands Studies, the UHM English Department, and the EWC Pacific Islands Development Program.