What connects Hawaii and Scotland?
You might assume the answer is not much. But an international conference held at Chaminade University over the summer underscored just how much the two locales share – and how indigenous writers from Scotland and its isles and the Hawaiian Islands have much to learn from each other.
From June 28 to 30, the University hosted the International Association for the Study of Scottish Literatures conference, welcoming researchers from around the globe to hear illuminating lectures around the theme, “Scotland and the South Seas: Writing the Wide Pacific.” The conference focused on how Scottish and Pacific literary works influenced each other thanks to rich cultural exchanges.
Chaminade’s Division of Humanities and Fine Arts professors Dr. Allison Paynter and Dr. Richard Hill served as key organizers for the conference, partnering with historical organizations from across the state to offer plenary sessions that took their inspiration from author Robert Louis Stevenson’s writings and travels across the Pacific, including Hawaii. The conference also featured two leading scholars of Stevenson, Roslyn Jolly (University of New South Wales) and Penny Fielding (Edinburgh University).
As part of the conference, Chaminade’s Sullivan Family Library worked to bring Stevenson’s stories to life, coordinating with Hawaii artist Solomon Enos and others to create pieces inspired by his many writings.
Paynter and Hill said the conference was so rich, they’re planning to write a book about the takeaways.
Also over the summer, Paynter was named a James Weldon Johnson Foundation artist-in-residence. The foundation seeks to advance Weldon’s legacy through educational, intellectual and artistic works. Weldon was an author, diplomat, attorney and strong advocate for social justice.