Karen Peacock is the curator of the Pacific Collection at UH Library. She was raised in the islands of Micronesia, and did graduate work at UH, receiving her MLS, MA in Pacific Studies and PhD in History. Karen travels regularly to the Micronesian nations for acquisitions work, conferences and library consultation. She is Resources editor for The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs, and a faculty member of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies.
At the closing ceremony of the 16th annual Pacific Islands Association of
Libraries, Archives, and Museums Friday night (Palau time), the Lifetime
Achievement Award was bestowed upon Dr. Karen M. Peacock. The ceremony
was held at the Belau National Museum amphitheatre. Following a brief
biographical outline of Karen's many accomplishments and contributions to
library development in the region, each entity (Hawaii, Marshall Islands,
Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, CNMI, Guam, and Palau) presented Karen with
a gift, and offered their reflections on Karen's impact on their islands'
libraries as well as theri own personal and professional lives. The only
other time this award was given by PIALA was in 1998, and it was bestowed
upon Karen's father, Daniel J. Peacock, former director of library
services for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
Karen Peacock, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has just published "Blue-Light Special: The Pacific Collection, Hamilton Library, UH" in Pacific Places, Pacific Histories: Essays in Honor of Robert C. Kiste. This collection is edited by Brij V. Lal and was published in Honolulu by UH Press, 2004 (p. 275-289).
She has also co-authored, with Nicholas Goetzfridt from the University of Guam, Micronesian Histories: An Analytical Bibliography and Guide to Interpretations.
Traditionally, the "history" of Micronesia has been dominated by outside European interpretations and interpretations from the perspectives, values, and actions of Micronesians themselves, thereby rendering contextually richer and more realistic interpretations of the past. A core title for individuals interested in Pacific history and historiography, this bibliography provides a critical summary and analysis of the scholarship on Micronesian history, as it has been constructed through both standardized European approaches and the more recent integration of indigenous viewpoints.
Beginning with introductions which review the issues of Micronesian historiography and Pacific historiography in general, this book challenges current thinking and perceptions of bibliography as it relates to the Pacific. As suggested by the plural "histories" in the title, the approaches to Pacific history are multifaceted. Focusing on scholarly works that are intentionally historical in nature, the authors provide readers with an opportunity to explore the specifics of Micronesian histories as they have evolved through four separate European periods of governance.
David Hanlon, Professor of History University of Hawai'i at Manoa states, "Goetzfridt and Peacock, two of the Pacific's premier bibliographers, have produced an eminently accessible, remarkably thorough, and impressively annotated guide to the written sources on Micronesia's past. There is no other bibliography quite like it. Anyone interested in Micronesian or Pacific histories will find this work wonderfully helpful."
In addition Anne Perez Hattori, Assistant Professor of Pacific History at the University of Guam wrote, "Micronesian Histories establishes Goetzfridt and Peacock as the world's preeminent curators of Micronesian library collections. Their impressive, erudite volume will quickly become an indispensable research tool across the disciplines for persons studying the Federal States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau. Indeed, there exists no other bibliographic publication which so exhaustively unites the major writings by both indigenous and non-indigenous writers of Micronesia. Aside from the sheer exhaustiveness of this work, their scholarly annotations intelligently and faithfully synthesize each text's key themes, providing users with an invaluable resource."
Karen Peacock's essay, "Returning History Through the Trust Territory Archives" has been published in Handle With Care: Ownership and Control of Ethnographic Materials, edited by Sjoerd R. Jaarsma (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002, pp.108-129). The idea for this collection began with a session of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania that examined repatriation of field material, and built up to an ASAO Symposium from which this volume arose.
In this essay, Peacock examines the role of the microfilming of the files of the US trusteeship in Micronesia and creating of an online index to the records as a means of making that colonial history available to Islanders. Using the details of the University of Hawaii Library's involvement in creation of the microfilm archives and the dissemination of sets of microfilm to each of the island governments of the former trusteeship, Peacock discusses the pitfalls and misunderstandings that center on the "ownership" of the historical record.
Other essays in the volume cover such topics as repatriating ethnography through a web site, access to a restricted set of field notes, Kwaio records in the Melanesian archive, and the problems of resurrecting poetic repertoire for hula, among others.