Book tackles “lies” of colonization

It is time the Pacific people critically re-examine their history and the rich resources embedded in all island cultures’ core understanding of what it means to be a Pacific Islander. 

The message comes from leading Samoan Theologian and Scholar, Reverend Dr. Upolu Lumā Vaai. In Fiji, he recently launched the books, Relational Hermeneutics: Decolonising the Mindset and the Pacific Itulagi and the The Relational Self: Decolonising Personhood in the Pacific at the Pacific Theological College in Suva.

The books are essential on the Pacific rethinking and decolonization agenda.  

Dr. Vaai is the Associate Professor and Head of Theology and Ethics at the Pacific Theological College in Suva.

The first book The Relational Self: Decolonising Personhood in the Pacific was edited by Dr. Vaai and Prof. Unaisi Nabobo-Baba from the University of Guam with the Foreword written by His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi (read Tui Atua’s foreword on page 7). 

The book was launched by Prof. Konai Helu Thaman of the University of the South Pacific, and one of the icons of rethinking education in the Pacific. 

The second book is Relational Hermeneutics: Decolonising the Mindset and the Pacific Itulagi, edited by Dr. Vaai and Aisake Casimira, the director of the Institute for Mission and Research at the Pacific Theological College. This book was launched by Prof. Bill Ashcroft of the University of New South Wales and also one of the known and recognised founders of postcolonial theory. 

 “Both books are part of the ‘relational renaissance series’ in an effort to respond to the challenges confronting island societies today by re-examining the rich resources embedded in all island cultures’ core relational/interconnected understanding of what it means to be a Pacific islander,” Dr. Vaai said. 

“From the perspectives of their diverse disciplines and cultures, the authors from diverse cultures and academic disciplines reframe the quest for decolonization by deconstructing the non-relational understandings of our mindsets that are the legacy of colonization and reconstructing a ‘relational renaissance’ of Pacific values that can empower Pacific Islanders to be agents of decolonization. 

“By rediscovering the foundational Pacific understanding of relationality that govern and encompass all of life in the Pacific itulagi (lifeworld), the authors offer an alternative to the dominant colonial neo-liberal capitalist paradigm of ‘development’ that benefit only a few at the expense of many, fracturing the harmony and interconnectedness of life, and destroying and violating sacred spaces including the environment. 

“The books remind the Pacific people of how critical it is at this time of increased non-relational trends to rediscover relationality as a hermeneutical key to reframe the way we understand and interpret the world around us.”

 

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