Making Sense of AIDS in Melanesia

In Melanesia, rates of HIV infection are among the highest in the Pacific and increasing rapidly, with grave humanitarian, development, and political implications. There is a great need for social research on HIV/AIDS in the region to provide better insights into the sensitive issues surrounding HIV transmission. Making Sense of AIDS: Culture, Sexuality, and Power in Melanesia, edited by Leslie Butt and Richard Eves, is the first book on HIV and AIDS in the Pacific region. It gathers together stunning and original accounts of the often surprising ways that people make sense of the AIDS epidemic in various parts of Melanesia. The volume addresses substantive issues concerning AIDS and contemporary sexualities, relations of power, and moralities—themes that provide a powerful backdrop for twenty-first century understandings of the tensions between sexuality, religion, and politics in many parts of the world.

“This is a powerful and courageous anthology. One of its great strengths is the powerful ethnography of sexuality contained in many of these essays, making it extremely timely. It shows that anthropology is alive, that the work of culture in confronting the myriad terrors of an incurable disease is daunting and fearful but part of the human condition that needs reporting in these societies. The essays are original and in some cases truly unique. Making Sense of AIDS contains extremely valuable, interesting, and important contributions.” —Gilbert Herdt, Center for Human Sexuality Studies, San Francisco State University

May 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3249-0 / $27.00 (PAPER)