The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 25, no. 1 (2013)

The Contemporary Pacific 25-1 cover
The Pacific Islands
, v

About the Artists: The Jaki-Ed Collective, vii


How Can Traditional Knowledge Best Be Regulated? Comparing a Proprietary Rights Approach with a Regulatory Toolbox Approach
Miranda Forsyth, 1

Abstract: Traditional knowledge is increasingly being seen as a potential source of economic value in the Pacific Islands region. As a result of this, and a belief that traditional knowledge is currently at risk in a number of respects, a move to protect it has developed over the past decade. This move has largely focused on the creation, through legislation, of a sui generis inalienable and perpetual property right in traditional knowledge, vested in its “owners” or “holders.” However, to date, very little attention has been paid to the issue of determining who these owners or holders should be. The first part of this article seeks to fill this gap by highlighting the institutional and normative issues implicated in any legislation that envisages group ownership over traditional knowledge. The second part proposes an alternative approach to the regulation of traditional knowledge, one that is not based on the creation of new proprietary rights. It argues that this alternative “regulatory toolbox” approach can achieve the same objectives for the protection of traditional knowledge that have been articulated in the push for the development of sui generis legislation, while avoiding many of the potential sites of conflict inherent in such an approach.
Keywords: traditional knowledge, regulation, ownership, community, customary law

Looking Good: The Cultural Politics of the Island Dress for Young Women in Vanuatu
Maggie Cummings, 33

Abstract: In this article, I explore the contingent and contested boundaries of looking good for young women in Vanuatu and the ways in which they negotiate these boundaries. I use women’s dress as a lens through which to focus on the relationships among gender, modernity, race, and morality, and I show the ways in which all four are condensed and embodied in the moral and aesthetic imperative for women to look good. In particular, I focus on the island dress, a dress first introduced by missionaries but taken up after independence as an emblem of national pride and as the traditional dress for women. Although wearing the island dress is the commonsense way for women to look good, the young women with whom I conducted fieldwork in 2001–2002 and again in 2008 and 2011 experienced a great deal of ambivalence about the dress. They often preferred to wear trousers and t-shirts, which frequently won them the disapproval of their elders. By focusing on the polyvalent meanings of the island dress, the realities of young people’s everyday lives in the capital, and the uneven terrain of the dress-scape of Vanuatu, I show that young women’s love/hate relationship with island dress reflects their frustration with their ambiguous place in the contemporary national imaginary.
Keywords: gender, Vanuatu, race, dress, national identity, morality, modernity

“I Guess They Didn’t Want Us Asking Too Many Questions”: Reading American Empire in Guam
Valerie Solar Woodward, 67

Abstract: This article analyzes Chris Perez Howard’s biography of his mother, Mariquita: A Tragedy of Guam, and selections from Craig Santos Perez’s poetry book from unincorporated territory: [hacha] and explores their responses to the continued colonization of Guam by the United States. While these two authors use the same events, namely World War II and the multiple military occupations of their home island, to reflect on the contemporary situation in Guam, I claim that the United States is able to continue its colonization of Guam through the twin practices of denying its own imperial practices and ignoring the pleas of native activists. The United States is partially able to accomplish its denial by using a memorialization of rescue from coercive and repressive colonizers who are portrayed in contrast with its own “benevolent” stewardship of the island. This rhetoric of liberation has been one of the acceptable forms of narrative for past authors, but contemporary authors and activists are beginning to explore other forms of discourse.

Both Perez and Howard use metaphors of the body in order to explore the disjointed nature of Guam’s relationship to the continental United States. Howard portrays the dependent position of Guam through the metaphor of the willing and submissive female body of his mother, whereas Perez attempts to reclaim an independent body and nation that is continually under siege from the United States and its military ambitions. Despite their stylistic differences, these two authors both claim recognition for Guam and its peoples.
Keywords: US imperialism, World War II, Guam, Chamorro, military, literary analysis, the body


Pacific Research Protocols from the University of Otago
compiled and edited by Judy Bennett, Mark Brunton, Jenny Bryant-Tokalau, Faafetai Sopoaga, Naomi Weaver, and Gary Witte, with an introduction by Stuart Dawrs, 95


Micronesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012
David W Kupferman, Kelly G Marsh, Donald R Shuster, Tyrone J Taitano, 128

Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012
Lorenz Gonschor, Hapakuke Pierre Leleivai, Margaret Mutu, Forrest Wade Young, 151


Cultures of Commemoration: The Politics of War, Memory, and History in the Mariana Islands, by Keith L Camacho
Reviewed by Craig Santos Perez, 190

The Testimony Project: Papua, edited by Charles E Farhadian
Reviewed by Eben Kirksey, 192

Changing Contexts, Shifting Meanings: Transformations of Cultural Traditions in Oceania, edited by Elfriede Hermann
Reviewed by Matt Tomlinson, 195

From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The Social World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea, by Paige West
Reviewed by Larry Lake, 197

Sun Come Up, directed by Jennifer Redfearn [documentary]
Reviewed by David Lipset, 199

Trading Nature: Tahitians, Europeans, and Ecological Exchange, by Jennifer Newell
Reviewed by Zakea Boeger, 201

Le paradis autour de Paul Gauguin, by Viviane Fayaud
Reviewed by Tate LeFevre, 203

Second Skins: Painted Barkcloth from New Guinea and Central Africa [exhibition]
Reviewed by Dan Taulapapa McMullin, 206

Once Were Pacific: Māori Connections to Oceania, by Alice Te Punga Somerville
Reviewed by Erin Suzuki, 207

Ua Mau Ke Ea, Sovereignty Endures: An Overview of the Political and Legal History of the Hawaiian Islands, by David Keanu Sai
Reviewed by Kūhiō Vogeler, 210

Polynesians in America: Pre-Columbian Contacts with the New World, edited by Terry L Jones, Alice A Storey, Elizabeth A Matisoo-Smith, and José-Miguel Ramírez-Aliaga
Reviewed by Carlos Mondragón, 212