CFP: Transpacific Connections

CFP: Transpacific Connections

“New Perspectives on Transpacific Connections:

The Americas and the South Pacific

Conference at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, 25-28 April 2013*

Convenors: Eveline Dürr and Agnes Brandt, Institute for Social and
Cultural Anthropology, LMU Munich

Recent changes in political and economic constellations in the Pacific
Rim reconfigured power relations and patterns of exchange between the
Americas and the Pacific region. Through agreements such as the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) new conditions for trade and exchange
are provided across the Pacific. As a result, regional and cultural
spaces that have long been perceived as separate emerge as closely

However, while transpacific crossings have accelerated over the past
decade, such connections date back to colonial and pre-colonial times
and have existed ever since. There is tentative evidence that
pre-Columbian voyages across the Pacific created linkages between the
Americas and Polynesia as early as AD 1300. In the sixteenth century,
regular shipping routes across the Pacific connected the Philippines
with New Spain. In more recent times, bilateral trade has intensified
and South-South engagements are growing considerably. While commercial
interests still play a pivotal role, cooperation increasingly extends
beyond trade and comprises a wide range of activities in areas such as
culture, knowledge, education, media, politics, the arts, and sciences.

Research on transpacific connections has focused on trading activities
and on political relations. Consequently, the dominant disciplinary
perspective is economics and trade. Anthropological contributions – and
cultural and social sciences perspectives in general – are
under-represented in this novel research terrain. Furthermore, the great
majority of these recent investigations into transpacific relations
focus on connections between the Americas and Asia, in particular on
relations between Latin America and China, as a new emerging force in
the region. Far less researched, however, are linkages that connect the
Americas with the Southern part of the Pacific, including Australasia
and South East Asia. A particularly under-researched field are
transpacific indigenous connections, for instance, the export of
successful models of cultural revitalization across the Pacific and
their localized appropriation and reinterpretation by indigenous actors.

The aim of the conference is to bring different perspectives on cultural
connections between the Americas and the South Pacific into dialogue and
to explore a wide range of links between these cultural spaces. It aims
to reach beyond Sino-Latin American collaborations and to include these
rather neglected Southern linkages. It asks how these connections have
developed over time, which local responses they have generated, and what
impact these processes have in the region in terms of representational
forms and strategies, and new cultural practices (e.g., spirituality,
music, food, gender, lifestyle). Such a perspective is essential when
discussing mobility and migration as these patterns have changed
dramatically in recent years. For instance, whereas in the past migrants
tended to be of lower education and class background, today they are
often skilled and economically powerful lifestyle or professional
migrants. As a result, both migration and representation patterns have
been transformed.

By extending the focus beyond East Asia to the Southern Pacific region
including Island connections with the Americas, this conference aims to
provide a more comprehensive understanding of the new dynamics and
shifting relations in the region. While it also wants to trace linkages
with North America, it is particularly concerned with Latin America and
South-South engagements. Furthermore, without neglecting the historical
dimensions, the focus is on the diverse and unprecedented contemporary
forms of cultural, social and economic encounters, and on the shifting
physical as well as virtual representations of Latino/a and Pacific
populations. Central topics to be discussed are:

·indigenous connections

·migration and new mobilities

·political/economical relations

·historical (dis-)continuities

We particularly invite actor-oriented contributions from anthropology
and its neighbouring disciplines dealing with face-to-face encounters,
relations from below, and direct transcultural interactions and

Provided we can secure funding, we will cover the costs for travel,
accommodation, and conference participation for presenters.

*Please submit an abstract of 200-250 words in English by 15 June 2012 to*:


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