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ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology
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In Memory of Times to Come
Ironies of History in Southeastern Papua New Guinea
292 pages, 13 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-80073-116-5 $130.00/£97.00 Hb Not Yet Published (June 2021)
eISBN 978-1-80073-117-2 eBook Not Yet Published
“This beautifully written ethnography challenges the social sciences to rethink longstanding approaches to belonging, identity, place, and change. It is an extraordinary contribution to sociocultural anthropology.” • Paige West, Columbia University
Drawing on twenty years of research, this book examines the historical perspective of a Pacific people who saw “globalization” come and go. Suau people encountered the leading edge of missionization and colonialism in Papua New Guinea and were active participants in the Second World War. In Memory of Times to Come offers a nuanced account of how people assess their own experience of change over the course of a critical century. It asks two key questions: What does it mean to claim that global connections are in the past rather than the present or the future, and what does it mean to claim that one has lost one’s culture, but not because anyone else took it away or destroyed it?
Melissa Demian is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. She has conducted research in Papua New Guinea for over twenty years, and has published on the topics of customary law, legal pluralism, legal history, child adoption, narratives of cultural loss and cultural patrimony, gender, and urbanization.
Subject: Anthropology (General) History (General) Cultural Studies (General)
List of Illustrations
Introduction: On anthropology and history in the Pacific
Chapter 1. Naming, loss, and waiting: “Suau” as a historical category
Chapter 2. Death, kastom, and the work of forgetting
Chapter 3. Times past, or, the Golden Age
Chapter 4. Old roads, new roads: temporal cartography
Chapter 5. Times present, or, “no government here”
Chapter 6. Times to come (in the near future)
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