In Vanuatu, where the revival of kastom (custom) has been pivotal in defining postcolonial identity, articulations of feminism(s) are offen met with ambivalence. The tension between discourses of individual rights and collective obligations and the tension between universal ideas of women's rights and local cultural practices such as kastom must be confronted. An engaged feminist anthropology, I argue, resists singular accounts of modernity by locating local knowledge and kastomary practices within a larger context that unsettles the boundaries of local and universal. Disentangling the ways in which contemporary critiques of kastom resonate with missionary and colonial representations of Melanesian violence and drawing attention to the structural violence of everyday life are also important tasks. Invoking the concepts of 'modest witness' and 'situated knowledge', I discuss what Strathern (1987) has called the 'awkward relationship' between anthropology and feminism and consider the possibilities of an engaged feminist anthropology.
Local Knowledge and Universal Claims
The Lengnangulong Sacred Stone from Vanuatu in France, Revisited
The material culture and arts of Vanuatu and wider Melanesia were subject to the collecting frenzies of the so-called “Museum Age” or the “Expedition Period” of anthropology (roughly the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) and, as a
Disentangling Provenance, Provenience, and Context in Vanuatu Assemblages
James L. Flexner
practice. It is this aspect of ethnographic collections that I explore below, using objects recorded in a survey of early museum collections from southern Vanuatu. The concepts of provenance, provenience, and context are fundamental to understandings of
Census, Health Laws and Inconsistently Modern Subjects in Early Colonial Vanuatu
In this article, I discuss two roles of documents in the creation and enforcement of public health laws in early colonial Vanuatu and their implication in colonial attempts to transform ni-Vanuatu societies and subjectivities. Colonial officials of the British-French Condominium based their projects on their admittedly partial knowledge in reports generated by experts studying depopulation. This knowledge, I argue, produced a ‘population’ by categorizing people according to their relationship with a reified notion of culture. The Condominium enforced health laws by sending letters to people categorized as Christian who would, the Condominium hoped, adhere to the regulations as self governing subjects. Officials would engage in persuasive conversations when they enforced the regulations in ‘bush’ villages. I conclude by reflecting on ni- Vanuatu knowledge of well-being and illness that could not be represented or documented and its centrality for subjectivities that might elude, if not subvert, the modern subject presumed by colonial strategies of governance.
Formations of Fear and Anger in Vanuatu
This essay revolves around a recent intensification of homicidal sorcery on Ambrym Island in Vanuatu, central Melanesia. During my periods of fieldwork on the island, spanning from 1995 to 2000, the situation in my region changed dramatically. Even though Ambrym social life has always been imbued with sorcery, the circumstances around the turn of the millennium represented a complete loss of control and an existential crisis.
In Search of Unity through the Holy Spirit in Vanuatu
The rapid growth of new Pentecostal churches in the South West Pacific nation Vanuatu is the focus of this article. It is argued that we need to look at the social dimensions of new religious movements—the way that the social in itself becomes the key to a transformed life—in order to gain an understanding of these movements' significance and proliferation in this area. This does not imply that the religious in its ontological sense is not important, but that this might be inseparable from the social—the rules and regulations, the activities and meetings. In order to highlight this dimension of the new churches, the literature on the cargo movements from Melanesia is used as a comparative background.
A Reconsideration of the Pentecostal Gender Paradox
creation of (temporary) unities, according to Scott. A similar point has been made for the case of Ambrym in Vanuatu (see Rio and Eriksen 2014 ). Here, the idea of achieving a unity of humankind is extremely important, but extremely problematic and
Paula Mota Santos and Hugo DeBlock
stolen effigies ( tau-tau ) and grave materials. The fifth article is by Hugo DeBlock, focusing on one specific object: the Lengnangulong sacred stone of North Ambrym in Vanuatu. If some objects that are kept in overseas museums serve as archives of
Eleanor Sterling, Tamara Ticktin, Tē Kipa Kepa Morgan, Georgina Cullman, Diana Alvira, Pelika Andrade, Nadia Bergamini, Erin Betley, Kate Burrows, Sophie Caillon, Joachim Claudet, Rachel Dacks, Pablo Eyzaguirre, Chris Filardi, Nadav Gazit, Christian Giardina, Stacy Jupiter, Kealohanuiopuna Kinney, Joe McCarter, Manuel Mejia, Kanoe Morishige, Jennifer Newell, Lihla Noori, John Parks, Pua’ala Pascua, Ashwin Ravikumar, Jamie Tanguay, Amanda Sigouin, Tina Stege, Mark Stege, and Alaka Wali
” communities that addresses the complexity of human-environment interactions. Melanesian Well-Being Indicators: A Biocultural Approach Jamie Tanguay The Melanesian Well-Being Indicators were developed in Vanuatu and designed for relevance across Melanesia, with
The Ho‘omaka Hou Research Initiative at the Bishop Museum
Mara A. Mulrooney, Charmaine Wong, Kelley Esh, Scott Belluomini, and Mark D. McCoy
Western Pacific Collections include materials recovered from sites in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and islands throughout Micronesia. In total, 19 islands within 8 island groups are represented in the Western Pacific Collections. The