We open the Winter 2009 issue of Biography by calling attention to "Pacific People," an evening of oli, mele, hula, theatre, poetry, autobiography, and biography, to articulate the significance of Hawai'i as the location of the Sixth Biennial IABA Conference. For the contributors to this volume, translation is, in the broadest terms, a form of representation and action that mediates-inevitably by coming between-cultures and languages in genres that are continually emerging. These essays articulate with the concerns foregrounded in "Pacific People," including a focus on human rights; an insistence on questioning what can and cannot be translated and the difference this makes to people's lives; attention to translation as a practice that can bring to the surface "buried" lives; an emphasis on how linguistic translation is embedded in contexts unmistakably political and economic as well as cultural; and an exploration of how translation itself can be a form of political action. As evidenced by "Pacific People" performers, and as argued by contributors to this special issue, translation enables both the restitution of pre- and anticolonial histories and traditions, and also the ability to create awareness of other peoples and places, helping to create potentially transformative consciousness of the common and different grounds on which we stand in both metaphoric and literal terms.


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