Saturday, December 12, 2015

Arguing for our Existence

Each semester I try to organize a Dinanna' for our majors and minors. We have grown as a program so much in the past three years, even though I am the gehilo' for it, I have trouble keeping track of things.

There are so many things which make Chamorro Studies as a program or discipline different than other academic units at UOG. We are one of the programs which you could argue is most connected to the community, save for those who are explicitly about community service or engagement (such as the cooperative extension). We are also a program which, in the scheme of things at UOG, has to regularly argue for our existence, against all manner of colonial and ignorant nonsense. Many programs exist simply because they are part of an established Western or international canon for education. There is little obligation for the faculty, the students or the program, since their vitality is assumed to be a given because of that relationship between power and knowledge. Women and Gender Studies is one of the few other programs that has to struggle for its existence against similar sort of resistance or miasma. Whether the students in Chamorro Studies like it or not, they end up being ambassadors to their peers, their families and to the island, of things Chamorro. It is important that we come together each semester and remind ourselves why we are doing it and the value of keeping alive a language or certain culture forms.

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