School of Social Sciences


April, 03, 2008 10:51 Age: 10 yrs

Report on sabbatical leave, second semester, 2006.

Category: SSS News

By: Dr Sandra Tarte, Senior Lecturer, Division of Politics and International Affairs.

The original aim of my sabbatical was to undertake research on the broad area of small island developing states in international politics, with a view to analyzing strategies used by such states to enhance their position and prospects in world affairs, especially in the context of globalization. At the beginning of my sabbatical I had the opportunity to discuss this area with several international relations scholars (from the United Kingdom and Australia) and on the basis of those discussions and additional research I decided to focus my research on the Pacific islands region and to use my sabbatical to commence work on a book about the changing international politics of this region.


Much of the first half of my study leave was spent collecting and compiling relevant material and formulating a book proposal. This was sent to a number of colleagues for comment and I was then encouraged to forward this to several publishers. Meanwhile I used the second half of the study leave to work on the first substantive chapter of the book, which is provisionally titled: The Marginalization Paradox. This chapter provides the setting for exploring and analyzing the international politics of the Pacific islands region, highlighting some of the claims being made about the Pacific islands and their place in the world. One of the puzzles that stands out within the contemporary characterizations of the region is the prevailing view of the Pacific islands as marginalized and excluded in global politics and economics, despite the evidence of (overwhelming) intervention and growing interstate rivalry in the region. It is this apparent paradox that forms the focus of the analysis.


As a result of my research I have received invitations to present papers at two international workshops in early 2007: one on capacity building in small states to be held at the University of Birmingham and the other on China's role in Oceania, to be held at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan (co-hosted by the University of Hawaii).


I am grateful to the University of the South Pacific for granting me study leave and to my colleagues in the School of Social Sciences for their encouragement and support.



Sandra Tarte,

4 December, 2006.

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