InThe Kanak Awakening, David Chappell examines the rise in New Caledonia of rival identity formations that became increasingly polarized in the 1970s. It explores in particular the emergence of activist discourses in favor of Kanak cultural nationalism and land reform, multiracial progressive sovereignty, or a combination of both aspirations. Most studies of modern New Caledonia focus on the violent 1980s uprising, which left deep scars on local memories and identities. Yet the genesis of that rebellion began with a handful of university students who painted graffiti on public buildings in 1969, and such activists discussed many of the same issues that face the country’s leadership today.
“This is a very valuable contribution to the literature on New Caledonia’s recent history and the search for Kanak identity in a world of decolonization. The author shows an excellent command of the literature, not only the discussions leading up to the ‘Melanesia 2000’ event but the long archaeological and anthropological record. It is a valuable synthesis of the ways in which the political and the cultural have connected to produce and interesting experiment of decolonization without independence.” —John Kim Munholland, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of Minnesota
Colonialism, Maasina Rule, and the Origins of Malaitan Kastom is a political history of the island of Malaita in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate from 1927, when the last violent resistance to colonial rule was crushed, to 1953 and the inauguration of the island’s first representative political body, the Malaita Council. At the book’s heart is a political movement known as Maasina Rule, which dominated political affairs in the southeastern Solomons for many years after World War II. The movement’s ideology, kastom, was grounded in the determination that only Malaitans themselves could properly chart their future through application of Malaitan sensibilities and methods, free from British interference.
Kastom promoted a radical transformation of Malaitan lives by sweeping social engineering projects and alternative governing and legal structures. When the government tried to suppress Maasina Rule through force, its followers brought colonial administration on the island to a halt for several years through a labor strike and massive civil resistance actions that overflowed government prison camps. David Akin draws on extensive archival and field research to present a practice-based analysis of colonial officers’ interactions with Malaitans in the years leading up to and during Maasina Rule.
Tobacco kills 5 million people every year and that number is expected to double by the year 2020. Despite its enormous toll on human health, tobacco has been largely neglected by anthropologists. Drinking Smoke combines an exhaustive search of historical materials on the introduction and spread of tobacco in the Pacific with extensive anthropological accounts of the ways Islanders have incorporated this substance into their lives. In Drinking Smoke, the idea of a syndemic is applied to the current health crisis in the Pacific, where the number of deaths from coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease continues to rise, and the case is made that smoking tobacco in the form of industrially manufactured cigarettes is the keystone of the contemporary syndemic in Oceania.
Drinking Smoke is the first book-length examination of the damaging tobacco syndemic in a specific world region. It is a must-read for scholars and students of anthropology, Pacific studies, history, and economic globalization, as well as for public health practitioners and those working in allied health fields. More broadly the book will appeal to anyone concerned with disease interaction, the social context of disease production, and the full health consequences of the global promotional efforts of Big Tobacco.
Melanesia is one of the most culturally diverse and artistically fertile regions of the world. This book is an exploration of one of the richest collections of Melanesian art, that of the British Museum. It is the product of sustained dialogue with people from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, West Papua, and New Caledonia, who are authors or co-authors of many of its chapters. Melanesia: Art and Encounter, edited by Lissant Bolton, Nicholas Thomas, Elizabeth Bonshek, Julie Adams, and Ben Burt, is a companion to this outstanding collection.
“Melanesia: Art and Encounter charts the terms of engagement between Melanesians and their material traces in a major Western museum. The contributors harness the power of a remarkable collection of artefacts to unsettle and recreate cultural memory and to highlight cross-cultural connections between persons and things. Beautifully illustrated and carefully researched, this volume brilliantly demonstrates the Melanesian axiom that objects and images realise, animate, and sometimes disrupt relationships.” —Robert Foster, University of Rochester
ISBN 978-0-8248-3853-9 / $120.00 (CLOTH)
A Faraway, Familiar Place: An Anthropologist Returns to Papua New Guinea is for readers seeking an excursion deep into little-known terrain but allergic to the wide-eyed superficiality of ordinary travel literature. Author Michael French Smith savors the sometimes gritty romance of his travels to an island village far from roads, electricity, telephone service, and the Internet, but puts to rest the cliché of “Stone Age” Papua New Guinea. He also gives the lie to stereotypes of anthropologists as either machete-wielding swashbucklers or detached observers turning real people into abstractions. Smith uses his anthropological expertise subtly, to illuminate Papua New Guinean lives, to nudge readers to look more closely at ideas they take for granted, and to take a wry look at his own experiences as an anthropologist.
“Michael French Smith has written an engaging and accessible account of returning to the site of his longterm field research, Kragur Island in the Sepik area of Papua New Guinea. As he has done before in two earlier books (of which A Faraway Place is a worthy companion), Mike has spun a great yarn. He possesses the admirable ability to translate personal experiences meaningfully and explains complex social phenomena in ways that the anthropologically uninitiated will understand and appreciate. He relates experiences that most anthropologists have had, but that others—students, social developers, those curious about the region—need to hear about. . . . There is nothing quite like it on the market.” —Richard Scaglion, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh
July 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3686-3 / $52.00 (CLOTH)