Jack Corbett

Jack Corbett is Associate Professor in Politics at the University of Southampton; Honorary Associate Professor at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, The Australian National University; and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University. He is the author of Being Political: Leadership and Democracy in the Pacific Islands (2015), Australia’s Foreign Aid Dilemma: Humanitarian Aspirations Confront Democratic Legitimacy (2017), and co-editor with Brij V. Lal of Political Life Writing in the Pacific: Reflections on Practice (2015).

Bearing Witness »

Essays in honour of Brij V. Lal

Edited by: Doug Munro, Jack Corbett
"Brij V. Lal is a singular scholar. His work has spanned disciplines—from history to politics—and genres—from conventional monograph history, to participant history, political commentary, encyclopaedia, biography and faction. Brij is without doubt the most eminent scholar Fiji has ever produced. He also remains the most significant public intellectual of his country, despite having been banned from entering it in 2009. He is also one of the leading Pacific historians of his generation, and an internationally recognised authority on the Indian diaspora. This Festschrift volume celebrates, reflects upon and extends the life and work of this colourful scholar. The essays, whose contributors are drawn from across the globe, do more than review Brij’s work; they also probe his contribution to both scholarly and political life. This book will therefore serve as an invaluable guide for readers from all walks of life seeking to better situate and understand the impact of Brij’s scholarly activism on Fiji and beyond." — Clive Moore, University of Queensland "It is a pleasure to commend this collection of very different essays that celebrate, reflect upon and extend the life and work of a remarkable scholar. Although I have had, at times, a close association with Brij Lal’s life and work, I have learned much from reading this book. It provokes further thought about the course of democracy in Fiji, and the very sorry state and future of Pacific history and the humanities in academia. Here is a timely assertion of the significance and major contribution that courageous scholars such as Brij have made to the study and public awareness of these areas of concern." — Jacqueline Leckie, University of Otago

Political Life Writing in the Pacific »

Reflections on Practice

This book aims to reflect on the experiential side of writing political lives in the Pacific region. The collection touches on aspects of the life writing art that are particularly pertinent to political figures: public perception and ideology; identifying important political successes and policy initiatives; grappling with issues like corruption and age-old political science questions about leadership and ‘dirty hands’. These are general themes but they take on a particular significance in the Pacific context and so the contributions explore these themes in relation to patterns of colonisation and the memory of independence; issues elliptically captured by terms like ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’; the nature of ‘self’ presented in Pacific life writing; and the tendency for many of these texts to be written by ‘outsiders’, or at least the increasingly contested nature of what that term means.