- Editor's Note
It is a great privilege to follow in the footsteps of the four previous editors of The Contemporary Pacific, and a pleasure to note that two of these distinguished individuals have articles in this issue. Founding editor Brij V Lal's poignant contribution calls attention to the human costs of political instability in Fiji over the last two decades, the approximate life span of the journal. Lal underlines the fundamental importance of the regional issues we seek to understand and represent through scholarly analysis, dialogue essays, artwork, annual political reviews, as well as book and media reviews. David Hanlon's essay, on the other hand, reminds us of the work remaining to be done. As he points out, Micronesia has not been particularly well represented in the broader field of Pacific studies, or in the pages of this journal. Hanlon, who served as editor after Lal, calls for regional studies that are inclusive, critical, and comparative; that counter colonial representations; and that open space for local voices, perspectives, and epistemologies. This matches well the goals and aspirations that will guide my work as editor.
The continuing relevance of more than forty issues of the journal is apparent in Pacific-related references and bibliographies, as well as the increasing number of electronic "hits" our articles receive via Project MUSE. It is a tribute to the vision of former editors that The Contemporary Pacific has moved to embrace and encourage new developments in the field of Pacific studies since the journal first appeared in 1989. During his term as editor (1999–2002), Geoffrey White continued David Hanlon's commitment to creative and empowering forms of scholarship, widening the composition of the editorial board as well as actively soliciting work from indigenous scholars. It is gratifying to note that in the lead article in this issue, Sa'iliemanu Lilomaiava-Doktor discusses population movement and Samoan epistemology—a topic that would not have attracted much attention not so long ago. When he took control in 2002, Vilsoni Hereniko promised to make the journal more contemporary and more inter-disciplinary. [End Page ix] He has achieved both those objectives. In early 2003 the first issue to showcase contemporary Pacific art made its dramatic debut, featuring the work of Niuean artist John Pule. Since then more than a dozen artists from across the region have graced the cover and inside pages of the journal, a powerful reminder of the salience of visual expression in Oceania. This is richly illustrated by Katherine Higgins in her article about the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture elsewhere in the current issue. It is also worth noting that Brij Lal's dialogue piece addresses Pacific concerns through creative writing, a first for the journal and another legacy of Hereniko's emphasis on diversity and accessibility.
My first duty as editor is to uphold the remarkable reputation for excellence surrounding this publication. The Contemporary Pacific is second to none in its rigorous peer review process, and the quality of its editorial and production practices. Institutional factors account for some of this success. The journal is an initiative of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai'i, which provides a stable environment, permanent facilities, and material support. It also benefits from the production and marketing expertise of the University of Hawai'i Press, which publishes sixteen other scholarly journals. Most important to the journal's success, however, is the remarkable team of dedicated individuals who support its day-to-day operations.
Decisions on manuscripts are made by a nineteen-member editorial board, drawn mostly from the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, its affiliate faculty, and the East-West Center. Pacific librarian Karen Peacock continues to manage the Resources section of the journal to great effect, while Julie Walsh Kroeker edits a book and media review section that is the envy of other journals. The position of Political Reviews Editor, which I held for two decades, is now in the capable hands of Scott Kroeker of the East West Center's Pacific Islands Development Program. A new board position, Arts Editor, will soon be filled by Carl Ka'ailä'au Pao, who teaches...