The fall semester at Missouri Southern will present many opportunities to learn about the landscapes, cultures, and cuisines of Oceania – a large area encompassing many nations. From the largest island nation on earth, Australia, to the dense tropical rainforests of Papua New Guinea, and the many islands of the South Pacific, Oceania is a large and diverse region.
“For several years we’ve always had in the back of our mind doing Australia,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, Director of the Institute of International Studies. He went on to explain that while “Americans have a fascination with Australia,” the committee which plans themed semesters decided to broaden out to Oceania, as it had done with the Nordic semester last year.
According to Stebbins, Bookhouse Cinema has partnered with Southern to show five of the films for the semester’s Oceania film festival. Dr. William Kumbier, associate professor of English at Southern, plays a leading role in the selection of films for themed semesters. Kumbier said he is particularly fond of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a comedy which will be shown at Bookhouse Cinema at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 17th.
“The largest population of Marshallese, outside of the Marshall Islands, is in Springdale, Arkansas,” said Stebbins. He noted that Southern will host “Navigating an Uncharted World: The Marshallese in Arkansas.” The program will be presented by Melisa Laelan. Laelan founded and directs the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese.
Stebbins said he is pleased with the number of departments at Southern which are contributing to this fall’s programming. One program he looks forward to especially is “The Mates Plate: Exploring the Tastes of Australia.” The program, which will be in Corley Auditorium, at 11 a.m. on September 19, will allow sampling of meat pies.
A booklet containing the complete schedule of Oceania semester programming is available from the Institute of International Studies. The booklet can also be found in many areas around campus. All Oceania events and film showings are free to the public, except for “Southern Theatre presents Andrew Upton’s Hanging Man.” Tickets for Hanging Man are $7 for adults, and $5 for students and senior citizens.