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Uncovering Pacific Pasts »

Histories of Archaeology in Oceania

Publication date: June 2022
Objects have many stories to tell. The stories of their makers and their uses. Stories of exchange, acquisition, display and interpretation. This book is a collection of essays highlighting some of the collections, and their object biographies, that were displayed in the Uncovering Pacific Pasts: Histories of Archaeology in Oceania (UPP) exhibition. The exhibition, which opened on 1 March 2020, sought to bring together both notable and relatively unknown Pacific material culture and archival collections from around the globe, displaying them simultaneously in their home institutions and linked online at www.uncoveringpacificpasts.org. Thirty‑eight collecting institutions participated in UPP, including major collecting institutions in the United Kingdom, continental Europe and the Americas, as well as collecting institutions from across the Pacific.

Wives and Wanderers in a New Guinea Highlands Society »

Women’s lives in the Wahgi Valley

Authored by: Marie Olive Reay
Publication date: January 2022
Wives and Wanderers in a New Guinea Highlands Society brings to the reader anthropologist Marie Reay’s field research from the 1950s and 1960s on women’s lives in the Wahgi Valley, Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Dramatically written, each chapter adds to the main story that Reay wanted to tell, contrasting young girls’ freedom to court and choose partners, with the constraints (and violence) they were to experience as married women. This volume provides readable ethnographic material for undergraduate courses, in whole or in part. It will be of interest to students and scholars of gender relations, anthropology and feminism, Melanesia and the Pacific. The material in this book, which Reay had written by 1965 but never published, remains startlingly contemporary and relevant. Marie Olive Reay was a social anthropologist who did research in Australian Indigenous communities and in the Wahgi Valley in the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Employed at The Australian National University from 1959 to 1988 when she retired, Reay passed away in 2004. In 2011 this manuscript was found in her personal papers, reconstructed and edited by Francesca Merlan, augmented here by an additional introduction by eminent anthropologist of the Highlands, and of gender, Marilyn Strathern. Had this manuscript appeared when Reay apparently completed it in its present form – around 1965 – it would have been the first published ethnography of women’s lives in the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Its retrieval from Reay’s papers, and availability now, adds a new dimension to works on gender relations in Melanesian societies, and to the history of Australian and Pacific anthropology.

The Genesis of a Policy »

Defining and Defending Australia's National Interest in the Asia-Pacific, 1921–57

Authored by: Honae Cuffe
Publication date: November 2021
The years 1921–57 marked a period of immense upheaval for Australia as the nation navigated economic crises, the threat of aggressive Japanese expansion and shifting power distributions with the world transitioning from British leadership to that of the US. This book offers a reassessment of Australia’s foreign policy origins and maturation during these tumultuous years. Successive Australian governments carefully observed these global and regional forces. The policy that developed in response was an integrated one—that is, one that sought to balance Australia’s particular geopolitical circumstances with great power relationships and, in assessing the value of these relationships, ensure that the nation’s trade, security and diplomatic interests were served. Amid the economic and strategic uncertainty of the interwar years, the Australian government acknowledged the shifting power distributions in the global and Asia-Pacific orders and that neither the policies of Britain nor the US completely served the national interest. The nation, accordingly, sought to intervene within the policies of the great powers to ensure its particular interests were secured. This geopolitically informed, interventionist approach, which had its genesis in the 1930s, is traced throughout the 1940s and 1950s, highlighting Australia’s gradual and uneven transition from the British world order to that of the US and the frank assessments made about which relationship best served Australia’s interests. The Genesis of a Policy identifies a comprehensive and pragmatic approach—albeit not always effectively executed—in Australian foreign policy tradition that has not been previously examined.

Russian Energy Strategy in the Asia-Pacific »

Implications for Australia

Edited by: Elizabeth Buchanan
Publication date: June 2021
Given Australia’s lack of energy security strategy, it is not surprising that the country is void of institutional knowledge and know-how of Russian foreign energy strategy. The ‘lucky country’ as it were, relies entirely on sea-lines of communication to the north to supply fuel and to export Australian coal and natural gas. Australia has entered the 2020s as the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter; however, maintaining complacency in Canberra’s current export activities will ultimately lead to a long-term security crisis. This book critically examines Russian energy strategy in the Asia-Pacific, with a view to determining the security implications for Australia. Russia is important for global energy security chains because of its vast resource wealth and its geographical position – a pivotal position to supply both the European and Asian markets. Australia has no such luxury, geographically constrained as an island continent; it relies on the nearby Asia-Pacific import market to demand our energy and to facilitate the delivery of our national oil supplies. Understanding Russian foreign energy strategy in the region is crucial given the growing energy requirements in Australia’s emerging Asia-Pacific arena.

The China Alternative »

Changing Regional Order in the Pacific Islands

Publication date: March 2021
In this collection, 17 leading scholars based in Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and China analyse key dimensions of the changing relationship between China and the Pacific Islands and explore the strategic, economic and diplomatic implications for regional actors. The China Alternative includes chapters on growing great power competition in the region, as well as the response to China’s rise by the US and its Western allies and the island countries themselves. Other chapters examine key dimensions of China’s Pacific engagement, including Beijing’s programs of aid and diplomacy, as well as the massive investments of the Belt and Road Initiative. The impact of China’s rivalry for recognition with Taiwan is examined, and several chapters analyse Chinese communities in the Pacific, and their relationships with local societies. The China Alternative provides ample material for informed judgements about the ability of island leaders to maintain their agency in the changing regional order, as well as other issues of significance to the peoples of the region. ‘China’s “discovery” of the diverse Pacific islands, intriguingly resonant of the era of European explorers, is impacting on this too-long-overlooked region through multiple currents that this important book guides us through.’ —Rowan Callick, Griffith University ‘The China Alternative is a must-read for all students and practitioners interested in understanding the new geopolitics of the Pacific. It assembles a stellar cast of Pacific scholars to deeply explore the impact of the changing role of China on the Pacific islands region. Significantly, it also puts the Pacific island states at the centre of this analysis by questioning the collective agency they might have in this rapidly evolving strategic context.’ —Greg Fry, The Australian National University

Australian Travellers in the South Seas »

Authored by: Nicholas Halter
Publication date: February 2021
This book offers a wide-ranging survey of Australian engagement with the Pacific Islands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Through over 100 hitherto largely unexplored accounts of travel, the author explores how representations of the Pacific Islands in letters, diaries, reminiscences, books, newspapers and magazines contributed to popular ideas of the Pacific Islands in Australia. It offers a range of valuable insights into continuities and changes in Australian regional perspectives, showing that ordinary Australians were more closely connected to the Pacific Islands than has previously been acknowledged. Addressing the theme of travel as a historical, literary and imaginative process, this cultural history probes issues of nation and empire, race and science, commerce and tourism by focusing on significant episodes and encounters in history. This is a foundational text for future studies of Australia’s relations with the Pacific, and histories of travel generally.

Achieving Inclusive Growth in the Asia Pacific »

Publication date: August 2020
The world’s developed economies are experiencing a sharp backlash against globalisation, and it appears to be contagious. Will Asia catch it next? Asia has seen spectacular growth in recent decades. It has benefited substantially from global trade, finance, openness and the rules-based international order. But much of the growth Asia has enjoyed has not been shared. It has not been inclusive growth. Inequality in Asia is among the highest in the world. The richest man in Vietnam now earns more in a single day than the poorest person does in a decade. Asia has far to go in making its societies more inclusive to women, ethnic minorities and the LGBT community. How can Asia reduce inequality? What are the forces that determine whether growth in the Asia Pacific is inclusive or not? And what can be done to make Asia’s growth more inclusive in the future? This book brings together the region’s leading thinkers to explore how to change Asia’s trajectory, before it is too late. The Pacific Trade and Development (PAFTAD) conference series has been at the forefront of analysing challenges facing the economies of East Asia and the Pacific since its first meeting in Tokyo in January 1968.

A Cautious New Approach »

China's Growing Trilateral Aid Cooperation

Authored by: Denghua Zhang
Publication date: March 2020
‘As a student of international relations and a former diplomat, Zhang brings the insights of a practitioner and the eye of scholar to explain why Chinese actors choose to engage in aid cooperation with traditional donors in the Asia-Pacific. This book is among the first to take a holistic approach to understanding the motivations of the many agencies involved in China’s aid program, and it will challenge the expectations of many readers.’ —Dr Graeme Smith, The Australian National University ‘This book breaks new ground by examining a little-known dimension of China’s foreign policy: trilateral aid cooperation. Denghua Zhang sets this highly original analysis in the context of the new assertiveness of Chinese foreign policy under Xi Jinping, the China International Development Cooperation Agency established in 2018, and the Belt and Road Initiative, which now serves as the framework for Chinese overseas aid and engagement. At a time when the debate in the West about the rise of China has intensified, not always knowledgeably, this book fills an important gap in our understanding of China in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.’ —Dr Stewart Firth, The Australian National University ‘This thoroughly researched work examines trilateral cooperation as a new and interesting aspect of China’s growing international aid program, and as a window into the changing nature of that program as well as the wider foreign policy in which it is embedded. The broad themes and topics discussed are clearly significant, ultimately touching on one of the most important international issues of our time, the implications of the rise of China for a long-established Western-dominated international system.’ —Prof. Terence Wesley-Smith, University of Hawai‘i

Debating Lapita »

Distribution, Chronology, Society and Subsistence

Publication date: December 2019
‘This volume is the most comprehensive review of Lapita research to date, tackling many of the lingering questions regarding origin and dispersal. Multidisciplinary in nature with a focus on summarising new findings, but also identifying important gaps that can help direct future research.’ — Professor Scott Fitzpatrick, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon ‘This substantial volume offers a welcome update on the definition of the Lapita culture. It significantly refreshes the knowledge on this foundational archaeological culture of the Pacific Islands in providing new data on sites and assemblages, and new discussions of hypotheses previously proposed.’ — Dr Frédérique Valentin, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Paris This volume comprises 23 chapters that focus on the archaeology of Lapita, a cultural horizon associated with the founding populations who first colonised much of the south west Pacific some 3000 years ago. The Lapita culture has been most clearly defined by its distinctive dentate-stamped decorated pottery and the design system represented on it and on further incised pots. Modern research now encompasses a whole range of aspects associated with Lapita and this is reflected in this volume. The broad overlapping themes of the volume—Lapita distribution and chronology, society and subsistence—relate to research questions that have long been debated in relation to Lapita.

Pacific Youth »

Local and Global Futures

Edited by: Helen Lee
Publication date: October 2019
Pacific populations are becoming younger and this ‘youth bulge’ is often perceived as a dangerous precursor to civil unrest. Yet young people are also a valuable resource holding exciting potential for the future of island nations. Addressing these conflicting views of youth, this volume presents ethnographic case studies of young people from across the Pacific and the diaspora. Moving beyond the typical focus on ‘youth problems’ in reports by Pacific governments and development agencies, the authors examine the highly diverse lives and perspectives of young people in urban and rural locations. They celebrate the contributions of youth to their communities while examining the challenges they face. The case studies explore the impacts of profound local and global changes and cover a wide sweep of youth experiences across themes of education, employment and economic inequalities, political and civil engagement, and migration and the diaspora. Contributors to this volume bring many decades of experience of research with Pacific people as well as fresh perspectives from early career and graduate researchers. Most are anthropologists and their chapters contribute to the interdisciplinary fields of youth studies and Pacific studies, offering thought-provoking insights into the possibilities for Pacific youth as they face uncertain futures.