Changing Contexts-Shifting Meanings: Transformations of Cultural Traditions in Oceania
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384pp. September 2011
Changing Contexts, Shifting Meanings: Transformations of Cultural Traditions in Oceania
Editor: Hermann, Elfriede;
This book sheds new light on processes of cultural transformation at work in Oceania and analyzes them as products of interrelationships between culturally created meanings and specific contexts. In a series of inspiring essays, noted scholars of the region examine these interrelationships for insight into how cultural traditions are shaped on an ongoing basis.

The collection marks a turning point in the debate on the conceptualization of tradition. Following a critique of how tradition has been viewed in terms of dichotomies like authenticity vs. inauthenticity, contributors stake out a novel perspective in which tradition figures as context-bound articulation. This makes it possible to view cultural traditions as resulting from interactions between people—their ideas, actions, and objects—and the ambient contexts. Such interactions are analyzed from the past down to the Oceanian present—with indigenous agency being highlighted. The work focuses first on early encounters, initially between Pacific Islanders themselves and later with the European navigators of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to clarify how meaningful actions and contexts interrelated in the past. The present-day memories of Pacific Islanders are examined to ask how such memories represent encounters that occurred long ago and how they influenced the social, political, economic, and religious changes that ensued. Next, contributors address ongoing social and structural interactions that social actors enlist to shape their traditions within the context of globalization and then the repercussions that these intersections and intercultural exchanges of discourses and practices are having on active identity formation as practiced by Pacific Islanders. Finally, two authorities on Oceania—who themselves move in the intersecting space between anthropology and history—discuss the essays and add their own valuable reflections.

With its wealth of illuminating analyses and illustrations, Changing Contexts, Shifting Meanings will appeal to students and scholars in the fields of cultural and social anthropology, history, art history, museology, Pacific studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and literary criticism.

Contributors: Aletta Biersack, Françoise Douaire-Marsaudon, Bronwen Douglas, David Hanlon, Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin, Peter Hempenstall, Margaret Jolly, Miriam Kahn, Martha Kaplan, John D. Kelly, Wolfgang Kempf, Gundolf Krüger, Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris, Lamont Lindstrom, Karen Nero, Ton Otto, Anne Salmond, Serge Tcherkézoff, Paul van der Grijp, Toon van Meijl.

73 illus.

Published in association with the Honolulu Academy of Arts
“Almost all of the contributions approach topics and problems which are located in present times. Therefore, the collection explores contemporary issues and this highly readable book will remain of relevance for a significant period of time to come.” —Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies (1:1, May 2013)

Editor: Hermann, Elfriede;
Elfriede Hermann is a cultural and social anthropologist at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and also a research fellow at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawai‘i.
Read the Introduction (PDF).
Foreword
Stephen Little 
Acknowledgments 

Introduction
Engaging with Interactions: Traditions as Context-Bound Articulations
Elfriede Hermann  
Changing Contexts, Shifting Meanings: The Cook / Forster Collection, 
For Example
Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin 

Part I: Early Encounters 
Histories of the Before: Lelu, Nan Madol, and Deep Time 
David Hanlon 
Beyond the Beach? Re-articulating the Limen in Oceanic Pasts, Presents,  and Futures 
Margaret Jolly 
Encountering Agency: Islanders, European Voyagers, and the Production of Race in Oceania 
Bronwen Douglas 
Aphrodite’s Island: Sexual Mythologies in Early Contact Tahiti 
Anne Salmond 
An Encounter with Violence in Paradise: Georg Forster’s Reflections on War in Aotearoa, Tahiti, and Tonga (1772-1775) 
Gundolf Krüger 
Inventing Polynesia 
Serge Tcherkézoff 

Part II: Memories 
Naming and Memory on Tanna, Vanuatu 
Lamont Lindstrom
Inventing Traditions and Remembering the Past in Manus 
Ton Otto 
Social Mimesis, Commemoration, and Ethnic Performance: Fiji Banaban Representations of the Past 
Wolfgang Kempf 

Part III: Global and (Trans)local Processes 
Moving onto the Stage: Tourism and the Transformation of Tahitian Dance 
Miriam Kahn 
Producing Inalienable Objects in a Global Market: The Solien Besena in Contemporary Australia 
Jacquelyn A. Lewis-Harris 
Alienation and Appropriation: Fijian Water and the Pacific Romance in Fiji and New York 
Martha Kaplan 
Shanti and Mana: The Loss and Recovery of Culture under Postcolonial  Conditions in Fiji 
John D. Kelly 
Justice in Wallis-‘Uvea: Customary Rights and Republican Law in a French Overseas Territory 
Françoise Douaire-Marsaudon 

Part IV: Cultural Exchange and Identities 
Maori Traditions in Analogy with the Past 
Toon van Meijl 
Contemporary Tongan Artists and the Reshaping of Oceanic Identity 
Paul van der Grijp 
A Tale of Three Time Travelers: Maintaining Relationships, Exploring Visual Technologies 
Karen L. Nero 

Cultural Change in Oceania: Remembering the Historical Questions 
Peter Hempenstall 
Epilogue 
Aletta Biersack 

Contributors 
Index 



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