An Ocean of Knowledge: Pacific Seafaring, Cultural Survival, and Sustainability

An Ocean of Knowledge: Pacific seafaring, cultural survival, and sustainability

An Ocean of Knowledge: Pacific Seafaring, Cultural Survival, and Sustainability

This interdisciplinary workshop/symposium focuses on the remarkable – but almost lost – navigation and seafaring traditions of the peoples who traversed and settled one-third of the world - the island nations of the Pacific Ocean. These communities are beset by challenges of climate change in a post-colonial world. Traditions of seafaring were central to Pacific Island cultures, and now community activists are reestablishing these traditions.  An Ocean of Knowledge brings together oceanographers, earth system scientists, biologists, anthropologists, traditional navigators adn community leaders to focus on the intersections of history, climate science, cultural survival, and Indigenous sustainability.

The event includes premieres of two new documentary films (with Q+A with the filmmakers)  thematic sessions, receptions, and visit to the campus proa (sakman) building project Orthogonal. Guest speakers include Pete Perez, Executive Director of the  500 Sails orgasnisation, Saipan; Larry Raigetal of the Waa’gey organisation, Federate States of Micronesia; Mimi George with the Tuamako Project (Solomon Islands).  In the sessions, we will delve into the unique cultural and cognitive aspects of Islander navigation, wayfinding, boatbuilding and sailing techniques. We will review the science of climate change and sea level rise, specifically as it impacts island nations and the ecology of reefs and fisheries. We will bring these themes together to consider cultural and economic survival today, and for the future.

Registration free but required in advance for catering. 

Simon Penny, Director. Sylvia Frain, Associate Director.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, UCI Oceans Institute, Newkirk Center for Science and Society, UCI Illuminations, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, School of Humanities UCI.


Event Details

  • When: Wednesday, October 18, Noon-10 p.m. and Thursday, October 19, 10am-10pm
  • Where: McCormack Film Screening Room and Room 1035 of the Humanities Gateway
  • Organizer: Simon Penny (email)
Register / RSVP