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A Celebration of Asian-Pacific Heritage

In 1992, a bill was signed into law designating May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. According to the Asian-Pacific Heritage website, “The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.” Commemorate this month with the following selection of Asia-Pacific titles, and view the complete list here.

 

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Asia Pacific World

The Journal of the International Association for Asia Pacific Studies

Chief Editor: Malcolm J.M. Cooper, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU)

Published on behalf of the International Association for Asia Pacific Studies

Asia Pacific World is a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal that focuses on the social, political, cultural and economic development of the Asia Pacific region. The Journal discusses issues of current and future concern for the Asia Pacific, and its relations with the rest of the world.

A forum for scholars carrying out research on the region, Asia Pacific World presents cutting edge analysis and invites contributions from a wide range of disciplines to explore their impact on the region. These areas include, but are not limited to, Sociology and Cultural Studies, History, Politics and International Relations, Finance, International Business Management, Innovation, Economic Development, Social Welfare, Tourism, Environment, ICT, New Media, Management, and Linguistics.

Asia Pacific World is published twice a year in Spring and Autumn. Its features include general articles, book reviews and review articles.

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GROWING UP IN CENTRAL AUSTRALIA

New Anthropological Studies of Aboriginal Childhood and Adolescence

Edited by Ute Eickelkamp

Surprisingly little research has been carried out about how Australian Aboriginal children and teenagers experience life, shape their social world and imagine the future. This volume presents recent and original studies of life experiences outside the institutional settings of childcare and education, of those growing up in contemporary Central Australia or with strong links to the region. Focusing on the remote communities – roughly 1,200 across the continent – the volume includes case studies of language and family life in small country towns and urban contexts. These studies expertly show that forms of consciousness have changed enormously over the last hundred years for Indigenous societies more so than for the rest of Australia, yet equally notable are the continuities across generations.

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OUT OF PLACE

Madness in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Michael Goddard

 

The Kakoli of the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), the focus of this study, did not traditionally have a concept of mental illness. They classified madness according to social behaviour, not mental pathology. Moreover, their conception of the person did not recognise the same physical and mental categories that inform Western medical science, and psychiatry in particular was not officially introduced to PNG until the late 1950s. Its practitioners claimed that it could adequately accommodate the cultural variation among Melanesian societies. This book compares the intent and practice of transcultural psychiatry with Kakoli interpretations of, and responses to, madness, showing the reasons for their occasional recourse to psychiatric services. Episodes involving madness, as defined by the Kakoli themselves, are described in order to offer a context for the historical lifeworld and praxis of the community and raise fundamental questions about whether a culturally sensitive psychiatry is possible in the Melanesian context.

 

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THE ETHNOGRAPHIC EXPERIMENT

A.M. Hocart and W.H.R. Rivers in Island Melanesia, 1908

Edited by Edvard Hviding and Cato Berg

 

In 1908, Arthur Maurice Hocart and William Halse Rivers Rivers conducted fieldwork in the Solomon Islands and elsewhere in Island Melanesia that served as the turning point in the development of modern anthropology. The work of these two anthropological pioneers on the small island of Simbo brought about the development of participant observation as a methodological hallmark of social anthropology. This would have implications for Rivers’ later work in psychiatry and psychology, and Hocart’s work as a comparativist, for which both would largely be remembered despite the novelty of that independent fieldwork on remote Pacific islands in the early years of the 20th Century. Contributors to this volume—who have all carried out fieldwork in those Melanesian locations where Hocart and Rivers worked—give a critical examination of the research that took place in 1908, situating those efforts in the broadest possible contexts of colonial history, imperialism, the history of ideas and scholarly practice within and beyond anthropology.

 

Series: Volume 1, Pacific Perspectives: Studies of the European Society for Oceanists

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MELANESIAN ODYSSEYS

Negotiating the Self, Narrative, and Modernity

Lisette Josephides

 

In a series of epic self-narratives ranging from traditional cultural embodiments to picaresque adventures, Christian epiphanies and a host of interactive strategies and techniques for living, Kewa Highlanders (PNG) attempt to shape and control their selves and their relentlessly changing world. This lively account transcends ethnographic particularity and offers a wide-reaching perspective on the nature of being human. Inverting the analytic logic of her previous work, which sought to uncover what social structures concealed, Josephides focuses instead on the cultural understandings that people make explicit in their actions and speech. Using approaches from philosophy and anthropology, she examines elicitation (how people create their selves and their worlds in the act of making explicit) and mimesis (how anthropologists produce ethnographies), to arrive at an unexpected conclusion: that knowledge of self and other alike derives from self-externalization rather than self-introspection.

 

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A POLICY TRAVELOGUE

Tracing Welfare Reform in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Canada

Catherine Kingfisher

 

An ethnography of the development and travel of the New Zealand model of neoliberal welfare reform, this study explores the social life of policy, which is one of process, motion, and change. Different actors, including not only policy élites but also providers and recipients, engage with it in light of their own resources and knowledge. Drawing on two analytic frameworks of the contemporary anthropology of policy—translation and assemblage—Kingfisher situates policy as an artifact and architect of cultural meaning, as well as a site of power struggles. All points of engagement with policy are approached as sites of policy production that serve to transform it as well as reproduce it. As such, A Policy Travelogue provides an antidote to theorizations of policy as a-cultural, rational, and straightforwardly technical.

 

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THE DEATH OF THE BIG MEN AND THE RISE OF THE BIG SHOTS

Custom and Conflict in East New Britain

Keir Martin

 

In 1994, the Pacific island village of Matupit was partially destroyed by a volcanic eruption. This study focuses on the subsequent reconstruction and contests over the morality of exchanges that are generative of new forms of social stratification. Such new dynamics of stratification are central to contemporary processes of globalization in the Pacific, and more widely. Through detailed ethnography of the transactions that a displaced people entered into in seeking to rebuild their lives, this book analyses how people re-make sociality in an era of post-colonial neoliberalism without taking either the transformative power of globalization or the resilience of indigenous culture as its starting point. It also contributes to the understanding of the problems of post-disaster reconstruction and development projects.

Series: Volume 3, ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology

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FOODWAYS AND EMPATHY

Relatedness in a Ramu River Society, Papua New Guinea

Anita von Poser

Through the sharing of food, people feel entitled to inquire into one another’s lives and ponder one another’s states in relation to their foodways. This in-depth study focuses on the Bosmun of Daiden, a Ramu River people in an under-represented area in the ethnography of Papua New Guinea, uncovering the conceptual convergence of local notions of relatedness, foodways, and empathy. In weaving together discussions about paramount values as passed on through myth, the expression of feelings in daily life, and the bodily experience of social and physical environs, a life-world unfolds in which moral, emotional, and embodied foodways contribute notably to the creation of relationships. Concerned with unique processes of “making kin,” the book adds a distinct case to recent debates about relatedness and empathy and sheds new light onto the conventional anthropological themes of food production, sharing, and exchange.

Series: Volume 4, Person, Space and Memory in the Contemporary Pacific

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GARDENING THE WORLD

Agency, Identity and the Ownership of Water

Veronica Strang

Around the world, intensifying development and human demands for fresh water are placing unsustainable pressures on finite resources. Countries are waging war over transboundary rivers, and rural and urban communities are increasingly divided as irrigation demands compete with domestic desires. Marginal groups are losing access to water as powerful elites protect their own interests, and entire ecosystems are being severely degraded. These problems are particularly evident in Australia, with its industrialised economy and arid climate. Yet there have been relatively few attempts to examine the social and cultural complexities that underlie people’s engagements with water. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in two major Australian river catchments (the Mitchell River in Cape York, and the Brisbane River in southeast Queensland), this book examines their major water using and managing groups: indigenous communities, farmers, industries, recreational and domestic water users, and environmental organisations. It explores the issues that shape their different beliefs, values and practices in relation to water, and considers the specifically cultural or sub-cultural meanings that they encode in their material surroundings. Through an analysis of each group’s diverse efforts to “garden the world,” it provides insights into the complexities of human-environmental relationships.