European Society for Oceanists 2022 Conference

ESfO 2022

Ajaccio, 02 June 2022 - 05 June 2022

Despite the still unpredictable situation, the board of ESfO has decided to proceed with the organisation of the next ESfO conference, which is to be held in 2022 in Ajaccio, Corsica. At this stage, we hope for a face to face meeting, with the proviso that if it becomes impossible to proceed in 2022, the conference will be postponed until 2023.

The Conference will be on the theme of ‘Material and Immaterial in Motion’. The organizers are jointly CREDO (Marseille) and the University of Verona. Details on venue and dates, as well as on the conference theme, are provided below. Also regularly check the website

Conference Organizers

CREDO (Centre for Research and Documentation on Oceania)
Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, EHESS, CREDO UMR 7308, 13003, Marseille, France

Department of Cultures and Civilizations
University of Verona, Italy


James Leach (chair of ESfO)
Laurent Dousset (vice-chair of ESfO)
Anna Paini
Véronique André

Material and Immaterial in Motion. Oceania’s vast geography, seascape, and history are full of movement.

The circulation of people and things in extended networks has long captured attention. From the distant past to our shared future, the Pacific was, is, and will be shaped by movements: movements of people and of things, of ideas and images, of power and ideology, of capital, of shifting geopolitical and scientific interests, and of circulating discourses about change, development, and degradation. In the Pacific we know the material and the immaterial, as well as their relationship, through their motion.

The conference opens a forum for the discussion of Pacific dynamics, and for thinking about the relationships between material and immaterial, about how each appear and disappear, how they are invoked, created, mobilized, stabilized, and how their distinction even dissolves. Movements, both material and immaterial, and between these states, are central to the manifestation of spirituality, to politics, to the practices of science and the abstraction of data, to health and wellbeing, and in the construction of objects. They are there in the flows of migration, the engagement of Pacific men and women in arts, performances, and ritual. The specific articulations of their features, and thus their relation, are key to understanding social processes and forms. Taking material and immaterial, and motion, as key terms, one might also interrogate the philosophical, cultural, and conceptual distinctions between them in different places and times. Does it make sense, for example, to talk of material or immaterial as if they were separate aspects of a process, if so to whom, and in what context? What specific transformations of material and immaterial should we focus on, and why? These are questions that, in dialogue with Pacific peoples and realities, past and present, we can learn much from attending to. The conference seeks to advance the agenda of understanding the dynamic motion of Oceania.