Saturday, December 10, 2011

Call for Silence in the Pacific


The Pacific has been the scene of much important thinking. Recent Pacific publications present ideas that are not only relevant to Pacific societies, but have important implications for the other cultures around it. One of these is a project to recover the meaning of silence.

As Unaisi Nabobo-Baba argues in her book *Knowing and Learning: An indigenous Fijian approach *(Suva: IPS Publications, 2006), the silent child in a Western classroom is seen as a problem. By contrast in many traditional Pacific communities, silence is seen as a culturally appropriate mode of behaviour. Nabobo-Baba goes further and develops a taxonomy of silence, which includes 18 different ways of being quiet, including ?silence and the elements? and ?silence when in awe of custom?

(see here<>for
an extract of her book).

The cultural meaning of silence poses some challenging questions:

   - What is the positive expression of silence?
   - How can silence be reconciled with modern democracy?
   - What is the role of silence in modern Western countries like
   - How can silence speak?
   - What is the constructive role of silence in the classroom?
   - What are the creative dimensions of silence?

Would you be interested in being part of a further discussion about this issue? If you would like to be involved in the development of a colloquium on silence, you are invited to send in your details. This includes:

   - Name
   - Role
   - Area of interest
   - What you would like to contribute to this development

Contributions can include research, a specific perspective, a performance, a venue or a program context. Please send an email to Responses are due 21 January 2012. We will then follow up your interest and keep you in the loop about events where silence will be heard over the next two years.

Unaisi Nabobo-Baba, University of Guam Kevin Murray, Southern Perspectives

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