Jean-Marie Tjibaou, Kanak Witness to the World: An Intellectual Biography
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256pp. September 2008
Jean-Marie Tjibaou, Kanak Witness to the World: An Intellectual Biography
Author: Waddell, Eric;
Jean-Marie Tjibaou is arguably the most important post–World War II Oceanic leader. His intellectual abilities, acute understanding of both Melanesian and European civilizations, stature as a statesman, commitment to nonviolence, and vision for Melanesia’s potential contributions to the global community have all contributed to the creation of a remarkable and enduring legacy. Until now, no substantial English-language study has existed of Tjibaou, who was assassinated in 1989. This intellectual biography of the Kanak (New Caledonia) leader takes an essentially chronological approach to his life—from his beginnings in the mountains of northern New Caledonia and his studies at the Sorbonne to his leadership of the independence movement in the Territory. The work focuses on the spiritual, cultural, and intellectual sources of Tjibaou’s ideas and actions as well as on those who were a source of inspiration to him.

Particular attention is given to Tjibaou’s sense of service, the convergences and divergences he identified as existing between Melanesian and Western civilizations, and the impact of metropolitan French politics on the situation in the Territory. In addition, the book explores the fracture between the Grande Terre and the Loyalty Islands, one with deep historical roots that help explain why Tjibaou’s assassin, Djubelly Wéa, was not a "crazy fanatic" but the uh_product of a distinctive reality—with a very different cultural and political reading of New Caledonia’s destiny.

21 illus., 3 maps
Pacific Islands Monograph Series, No. 23
Published in association with the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, Univeristy of Hawai‘i

"A remarkable book about a remarkable man. . . . [It] deals with topics of immense complexity in a readable manner and convincingly presents the story and contribution of a great man who lived in a critical period of time for all Oceanian people." —The Contemporary Pacific (22:1, 2010)
Author: Waddell, Eric;
Eric Waddell is an independent scholar with attachments to the Département de géographie, Université Laval, Canada, and the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney.
Read the introduction (PDF).
Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Sources

Abbreviations

Introduction: The Challenge of Writing about Jean-Marie Tjibaou

1. "The Big Black Hole" . . . and the Open Wounds of Ouvéa

2. The Roots of Identity: Hienghène and Its lourd héritage

3. C’était la logique du système: Negotiating the Catholic Church in New Caledonia

4. The Desire to Understand: University Studies in Lyon and Paris

5. From Applied to Committed Anthropology: Social and Cultural Action in Nouméa

6. Contrasting but Complementary Civilizations: The Search for Mutual Understanding

7. New Caledonia or Kanaky: The Inexorable Drift from Political Negotiation to Violent Confrontation

8. The One Remaining Hope: Appealing to the French People

9. From Ouvéa to Matignon, and Back to Ouvéa

10. The Measure of the Man

Notes

References

Index




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