Traditional Knowledge and Wisdom: Themes from the Pacific Islands

Traditional knowledge has been receiving more attention due to its recognized potential. However, for sometime, the word traditional was generally seen as synonymous to old or outdated. Toward the end of the twentieth century, the many problems facing modern society—including environmental degradation and dehumanization—got many people to question the limits of the so-called modern approach to the world. In post-modernist discourse, a central task has been to overcome the negative side of modernity in the fields of not only the arts and humanities but also social, natural, and applied sciences. And many are looking to traditional knowledge or intangible cultural heritage for alternatives. Re-examining, reinterpreting, and applying traditional knowledge in a contemporary context often leads to viable solutions.

The editors of this book have compiled informative articles on traditional knowledge from the Pacific that may provide solutions and ideas for problems facing modern society. To help create a clearer platform for conveying ideas about traditional wisdom, we have categorized the articles under five themes: Worldviews, Relationships and Social Cohesion, Harvest and Landscapes, Voyaging and Seascapes, and Art and Technology.