Pacific Series

The Pacific Islands region is home to an astonishing variety of languages, cultures and histories. The Pacific series constitutes a major source of modern scholarship on this region through books that range from history and anthropology to political science, gender studies and environmental studies. The islands of Melanesia are a particular focus, but the Pacific series also publishes ground-breaking research on Polynesia and Micronesia. 

Please note: The following list of titles is sorted by publication date, with the most recent first.

Displaying results 1 to 25 of 38.

The Chinese in Papua New Guinea »

Past, Present and Future

Publication date: May 2024
Papua New Guinean, Chinese and Australian people have long been entangled in the creation of complex histories and political debates concerning the similarities and differences of each group. These debates are fundamental to understanding how a sense of national unity in Papua New Guinea is formed, as well as within analyses of the wider world of strategic power dynamics and influence. The Chinese in Papua New Guinea offers a comprehensive and nuanced examination of the Chinese in Papua New Guinea. Chinese, Papua New Guinean and Australian interactions are analysed in the context of ongoing shifts in colonial power, increased regional engagement with China, and current political instabilities across the Indo-Pacific region. The many ways the Chinese have been defined as actors in PNG’s history and politics are analysed against the backdrop of a rapidly changing global order. The complexity of Chinese experiences within Papua New Guinea is given expression, here, with chapters that stress political and historical heterogeneity, the importance of language for understanding Chinese social relations, and that articulate rich personal experiences of race relations.

Uneven Connections »

A Partial History of the Mobile Phone in Papua New Guinea

Authored by: Robert J. Foster
Publication date: March 2024
In the first years of the 21st century, economic liberalisation began to transform telecommunications services throughout the Pacific Islands. Government regulators, corporate executives and everyday consumers hopefully imagined that opening mobile phone markets to competition would result in greater access, lower costs and accelerated development. Uneven Connections examines the ways in which liberalisation took hold in Papua New Guinea (PNG) when a unit of the Caribbean-based mobile network operator Digicel Group Ltd. seized the opportunity to compete with the state-sponsored incumbent. The book highlights how mobile phones entered the lives of urban and rural Papua New Guineans after Digicel’s arrival in 2007. In so doing, it describes a moral economy in which companies, consumers and state agents continually negotiate who owes what to whom. In what ways have these various actors invented and negotiated new forms of both freedom and constraint? Uneven Connections advances understanding of how a so-called digital revolution in PNG unfolded, resulting in outcomes that often confounded the expectations of policy makers and ordinary citizens alike. It assesses the extent to which some of the promises of this revolution have been redeemed and identifies the challenges faced by companies, consumers and state agents in establishing and experiencing novel forms of uneven connectivity. The book provides a short and selective history of mobile phones in PNG, ending with the sale of Digicel’s Pacific operations to the Australian company Telstra in 2022.

Mandates and Missteps »

Australian Government Scholarships to the Pacific – 1948 to 2018

Authored by: Anna Kent
Publication date: February 2024
Mandates and Missteps is the first comprehensive history of Australian government scholarships to the Pacific, from the first scheme in 1948 to the Australia Awards of 2018. The study of scholarships provides a window into foreign and education policy making, across decades, and the impact such policies have had on individuals and communities. This work demonstrates the broad role these scholarships have played in bilateral relationships between Australia and Pacific Island territories and countries. The famed Colombo Plan is here put in its proper context within international aid and international education history. Australian scholarship programs, it is argued, ultimately reflect Australia, and its perception of itself as a nation in the Pacific, more than the needs of Pacific Island nations. Mandates and Missteps traces Australia’s role as both a coloniser in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and a participant in the process of decolonisation across the Pacific. This study will be of interest to students and scholars of international development, international education and foreign policy.

Return to Volcano Town »

Reassessing the 1937–1943 Volcanic Eruptions at Rabaul

Publication date: October 2023
Wally Johnson and Neville Threlfall re-examine the explosive volcanic eruptions that in 1937–43 killed more than 500 people in the Rabaul area of East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. They reassess this disaster in light of the prodigious amount of new scientific and disaster-management work that has been undertaken there since about 1971, when strong tectonic earthquakes shook the area. Comparisons are made in particular with volcanic eruptions in 1994–2014, when half of Rabaul town was destroyed and then abandoned. A striking feature of historical eruptive periods at Rabaul is the near‑simultaneous activity at Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes, on either side of Rabaul Harbour. Such rare ‘twin’ eruptions are interpreted to be the result of a common magma reservoir beneath the harbour. This interpretation has implications for ongoing hazard and risk assessments and for volcano monitoring in the area.

Islands of Hope »

Indigenous Resource Management in a Changing Pacific

Publication date: May 2023
In the Pacific, as elsewhere, indigenous communities live with the consequences of environmental mismanagement and over-exploitation but rarely benefit from the short-term economic profits such actions may generate within the global system. National and international policy frameworks ultimately rely on local community assent. Without effective local participation and partnership, these extremely imposed frameworks miss out on millennia of local observation and understanding and seldom deliver viable and sustained environmental, cultural and economic benefits at the local level. This collection argues that environmental sustainability, indigenous political empowerment and economic viability will succeed only by taking account of distinct local contexts and cultures. In this regard, these Pacific indigenous case studies offer ‘islands of hope’ for all communities marginalised by increasingly intrusive—and increasingly rapid—technological changes and by global dietary, economic, political and military forces with whom they have no direct contact or influence.

Unsung Land, Aspiring Nation »

Journeys in Bougainville

Authored by: Gordon Peake
Publication date: December 2022
In 2016, Gordon Peake answers a job advertisement for a role with the government of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, a collection of islands on the eastern fringe of Papua New Guinea looking to strike out as a country of its own. In his day job he sees at first hand the challenges of trying to stand up new government systems. Away from the office he travels with former rebels, follows an anthropologist’s ghost and visits landmarks from the region’s conflict. In 2019, he witnesses joy and euphoria as the people of Bougainville vote in a referendum on their future. Out of these encounters emerges an unforgettable portrait of this potential nation-in-waiting. Blending narrative history, travelogue and personal reminiscences, Unsung Land, Aspiring Nation is an engaging memoir as well as an insightful meditation on the realities of nation-making and international development. ‘Heartfelt and honest. This book is an insightful read and a valuable addition to scholarship on Bougainville’s journey to peace.’ — Joseph Nobetau, former Chief Secretary to the Autonomous Bougainville Government ‘An excellent piece of engaged travel writing. With first-hand observation and curiosity, Gordon has produced a deeply informed, compelling and evocative account of war, survival and nation-building in what may become the world’s newest country.’ — Tom Bamforth, author of The Rising Tide: Among the Islands and Atolls of the Pacific Ocean Unsung Land, Aspiring Nation is also available as an audiobook.

Suva Stories »

A History of the Capital of Fiji

Edited by: Nicholas Halter
Publication date: September 2022
Suva Stories explores a fascinating tapestry of histories in one of the Pacific’s oldest and most culturally diverse urban centres, the capital of Fiji. Charting the trajectory of Suva from indigenous village to colonial hub to contemporary Pacific metropolis, it draws on a rich colonial archive and moving personal memoirs that bear witness to their time. The diverse contributions in this volume form a complex mosaic of urban lives and histories that contribute fresh insights into historical and ongoing debates about race, place and belonging. Suva Stories is a valuable companion to those seeking to engage with the city’s pasts and present, and will prompt new conversations about history and memory in Fiji.

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.

Honiara »

Village-City of Solomon Islands

Authored by: Clive Moore
Publication date: May 2022
Nahona`ara—means ‘facing the `ara’, the place where the southeast winds meet the land just west of Point Cruz. Nahona`ara became Honiara, the capital city of Solomon Islands with a population of 160,000, the only significant urban centre in a nation of 721,000 people. Honiara: Village-City of Solomon Islands views Honiara in several ways: first as Tandai traditional land; then as coconut plantations between the 1880s and 1930s; within the British protectorate (1893–1978) and its Guadalcanal District; in the 1942–45 war years, which created the first urban settlement; in the directly post-war period until 1952 as the new capital of the protectorate, replacing Tulagi; and then as the headquarters of the Western Pacific High Commission (WPHC) between 1953 and 1974. Finally, in 1978, Honiara became the capital of the independent nation of Solomon Islands and the headquarters of Guadalcanal Province. The book argues that over decades there have been four and sometimes five changing and intersecting Honiara ‘worlds’ operating at one time, each of different social, economic and political significance. The importance of each group—British, Solomon Islanders, other Pacific Islanders, Asians, and more recently the 2003–17 presence of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI)—has changed over time.

Youth in Fiji and Solomon Islands »

Livelihoods, Leadership and Civic Engagement

Authored by: Aidan Craney
Publication date: April 2022
Fiji, Solomon Islands and the wider Pacific region are experiencing a ‘youth bulge’. As such, the livelihoods pathways of youth in these countries will be a key determinant of their social, political and economic futures. This book looks at the cultural expectations of Fijian and Solomon Islander youth, as well as the socio-political positioning of youth activists. It investigates how formal and informal structures – such as education, employment and civil society – affect the ability of youth to achieve their potential and actively engage in their societies. Through this investigation, a recurrent theme develops of the structural minimisation of youth in these countries: they are ‘to be seen but not heard’. But Pacific youth are more than citizens in waiting; they are already important members of their communities, with varying degrees of engagement in critical civil society. More than simply leaders of tomorrow, they are partners for today. Youth in Fiji and Solomon Islands documents and details some of the ways that young people in Fiji and Solomon Islands are forging their way as leaders not just of youth, but of their communities. Whilst the majority of youth are engaging in society in acceptable, social ascribed ways, and the majority of adults resist youth participation as a technique to maintain the social status quo, a small but influential cohort of both youth and adults are creating spaces for today’s young people to help to shape the developmental futures of the Great Ocean States of the Pacific.

Papua New Guinea: Government, Economy and Society »

Publication date: March 2022
Papua New Guinea (PNG), a nation of now almost nine million people, continues to evolve and adapt. While there is no shortage of recent data and research on PNG, the two most recent social science volumes on the country were both written more than a decade ago. Since then, much has changed and much has been learnt. What has been missing is a volume that brings together the most recent research and reports on the most recent data. Papua New Guinea: Government, Economy and Society fills that gap. Written by experts at the University of Papua New Guinea and The Australian National University among others, this book provides up-to-date surveys of critical policy issues for PNG across a range of fields, from elections and politics, decentralisation, and crime and corruption, to PNG’s economic trajectory and household living standards, to uneven development, communication and the media. The volume’s authors provide an overview of the data collected and research undertaken in these various fields in an engaging and accessible way. Edited by Professor Stephen Howes and Professor Lekshmi N. Pillai, Papua New Guinea: Government, Economy and Society is a must-read for students, policymakers and anyone interested in understanding this complex and fascinating country.

The Federated States of Micronesia’s Engagement with the Outside World »

Control, Self-Preservation and Continuity

Authored by: Gonzaga Puas
Publication date: September 2021
This study addresses the neglected history of the people of the Federated States of Micronesia’s (FSM) engagement with the outside world. Situated in the northwest Pacific, FSM’s strategic location has led to four colonial rulers. Histories of FSM to date have been largely written by sympathetic outsiders. Indigenous perspectives of FSM history have been largely absent from the main corpus of historical literature. A new generation of Micronesian scholars are starting to write their own history from Micronesian perspectives and using Micronesian forms of history. This book argues that Micronesians have been dealing successfully with the outside world throughout the colonial era in ways colonial authorities were often unaware of. This argument is sustained by examination of oral histories, secondary sources, interviews, field research and the personal experience of a person raised in the Mortlock Islands of Chuuk State. It reconstructs how Micronesian internal processes for social stability and mutual support endured, rather than succumbing to the different waves of colonisation. This study argues that colonisation did not destroy Micronesian cultures and identities, but that Micronesians recontextualised the changing conditions to suit their own circumstances. Their success rested on the indigenous doctrines of adaptation, assimilation and accommodation deeply rooted in the kinship doctrine of eaea fengen (sharing) and alilis fengen (assisting each other). These values pervade the Constitution of the FSM, which formally defines the modern identity of its indigenous peoples, reasserting and perpetuating Micronesian values and future continuity.

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.

Unequal Lives »

Gender, Race and Class in the Western Pacific

Publication date: January 2021
As we move further into the twenty-first century, we are witnessing both the global extensification and local intensification of inequality. Unequal Lives deals with the particular dilemmas of inequality in the Western Pacific. The authors focus on four dimensions of inequality: the familiar triad of gender, race and class, and the often-neglected dimension of generation. Grounded in meticulous long-term ethnographic enquiry and deep awareness of the historical contingency of these configurations of inequality, this volume illustrates the multidimensional, multiscale and epistemic nature of contemporary inequality. This collection is a major contribution to academic and political debates about the perverse effects of inequality, which now ranks among the greatest challenges of our time. The inspiration for this volume derives from the breadth and depth of Martha Macintyre’s remarkable scholarship. The contributors celebrate Macintyre’s groundbreaking work, which exemplifies the explanatory power, ethical force and pragmatism that ensures the relevance of anthropological research to the lives of others and to understanding the global condition. ‘Unequal Lives is an impressive collection by Melanesianist anthropologists with reputations for theoretical sophistication, ethnographic imagination and persuasive writing. It brilliantly illuminates all aspects of the multifaceted scholarship of Martha Macintyre, whose life and teaching are also highlighted in the commentaries, tributes and interview included in the volume.’ — Robert J. Foster, Professor of Anthropology and Visual and Cultural Studies, Richard L. Turner Professor of Humanities, University of Rochester ‘Inspired by Martha Macintyre’s work, the contributors to Unequal Lives show that to theorise inequality is a measured project, one that requires rescaling its exercise over several decades in order to recognise the reality of inequality as it is known in social relations and to document it critically, unravelling their own readiness to misjudge what they see from the lives that are lived by the people with whom they have lived and studied. This fine volume shows how the ordinariness of everyday work and care can be a chimera wherein the apparent reality of inequality might mislead less critical reports to obscure its very account. From reading it, we learn that such unrelenting questioning of what makes lives unequal becomes the very analytic for better understanding lives as they are lived.’ — Karen M. Sykes, Professor of Anthropology, University of Manchester

Roars from the Mountain »

Colonial Management of the 1951 Volcanic Disaster at Mount Lamington

Authored by: R. Wally Johnson
Publication date: April 2020
Mount Lamington broke out in violent eruption on 21 January 1951, killing thousands of Orokaiva people, devastating villages and destroying infrastructure. Generations of Orokaiva people had lived on the rich volcanic soils of Mount Lamington, apparently unaware of the deadly volcanic threat that lay dormant beneath them. Also unaware were the Europeans who administered the Territory of Papua and New Guinea at the time of the eruption, and who were uncertain about how to interpret the increasing volcanic unrest on the mountain in the preceding days of the disaster. Roars from the Mountain seeks to address why so many people died at Mount Lamington by examining the large amount of published and unpublished records that are available on the 1951 disaster. The information sources also include the results of interviews with survivors and with people who were part of the relief, recovery and remembrance phases of what can still be regarded as one of Australia’s greatest natural-hazard disasters.

Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Asia and the Pacific »

Publication date: November 2019
Over the last two decades, civil society has helped catalyse responses to the legacies of violent conflicts and oppressive political regimes in Asia and the Pacific. Civil society has advocated for the establishment of criminal trials and truth commissions, monitored their operations and pushed for take-up of their recommendations. It has also initiated community-based transitional justice responses. Yet, there has been little in-depth examination of the breadth and diversity of these roles. This book addresses this gap by analysing the heterogeneity of civil society transitional justice activity in Asia and the Pacific. Based upon empirically grounded case studies of Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Fiji, this book illustrates that civil society actors can have different – and sometimes competing – priorities, resources and approaches to transitional justice. Their work is also underpinned by diverse understandings of ‘justice’. By reflecting on the richness of this activity, this book advances contemporary debates about transitional justice and civil society. It will also be a valuable resource for scholars and practitioners working on Asia and the Pacific.

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.

Framing the Islands »

Power and Diplomatic Agency in Pacific Regionalism

Authored by: Greg Fry
Publication date: October 2019
Since its origins in late eighteenth-century European thought, the idea of placing a regional frame around the Pacific islands has never been just an exercise in geographical mapping. This framing has always been a political exercise. Contending regional projects and visions have been part of a political struggle concerning how Pacific islanders should live their lives. Framing the Islands tells the story of this political struggle and its impact on the regional governance of key issues for the Pacific such as regional development, resource management, security, cultural identity, political agency, climate change and nuclear involvement. It tells this story in the context of a changing world order since the colonial period and of changing politics within the post-colonial states of the Pacific. Framing the Islands argues that Pacific regionalism has been politically significant for Pacific island states and societies. It demonstrates the power associated with the regional arena as a valued site for the negotiation of global ideas and processes around development, security and climate change. It also demonstrates the political significance associated with the role of Pacific regionalism as a diplomatic bloc in global affairs, and as a producer of powerful policy norms attached to funded programs. This study also challenges the expectation that Pacific regionalism largely serves hegemonic powers and that small islands states have little diplomatic agency in these contests. Pacific islanders have successfully promoted their own powerful normative framings of Oceania in the face of the attempted hegemonic impositions from outside the region; seen, for example, in the strong commitment to the ‘Blue Pacific continent’ framing as a guiding ideology for the policy work of the Pacific Islands Forum in the face of pressures to become part of Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

Levelling Wind »

Remembering Fiji

Authored by: Brij V. Lal
Publication date: October 2019
‘What I have sought to do in my work is to give voiceless people a voice, place and purpose, the sense of dignity and inner strength that comes from never giving up no matter how difficult the circumstances. History belongs as much to the vanquished as to the victors.’ — Brij V. Lal ‘Professor Brij Lal is the finest historian of the Indian indentured experience and the Indian diaspora. His Girmitiyas is a classic.’ — Emeritus Professor Clem Seecharan, London Metropolitan University ‘Brij Lal is a highly respected, versatile and imaginative scholar who has  made a lasting contribution to the historiography of the Pacific.’ — Dr Rod Alley, Victoria University of Wellington ‘Professor Brij Lal’s life is a remarkable journey of a scholar and an intellectual whose writings are truly transformative; a man of moral clarity and courage who also has deep pain at being cut off from his homeland.’ — Professor Michael Wesley, Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University ‘Brij Lal is a singular scholar, whose work has spanned disciplines – from history, political commentary, encyclopedia, biography and “faction”. Brij is without doubt the most eminent scholar in the humanities and social sciences Fiji has ever produced. He also remains one of the most significant public intellectuals of his country, despite having been banned from entering it in 2009.’ — Emeritus Professor Clive Moore, University of Queensland ‘Brij Lal is an accomplished and versatile historian and true son of Fiji. Above all, there is affirmation here of the enduring worth of good literature and the value of good education that Lal received and wants others to experience. The world needs more Lals who speak out against ruling opinions and dare to stray into  the pastures of independent thought.’ — Professor Doug Munro, historian and biographer, Wellington, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland

Tulagi »

Pacific Outpost of British Empire

Authored by: Clive Moore
Publication date: September 2019
Tulagi was the capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate between 1897 and 1942. The British withdrawal from the island during the Pacific War, its capture by the Japanese and the American reconquest left the island’s facilities damaged beyond repair. After the war, Britain moved the capital to the American military base on Guadalcanal, which became Honiara. The Tulagi settlement was an enclave of several small islands, the permanent population of which was never more than 600: 300 foreigners—one-third of European origin and most of the remainder Chinese—and an equivalent number of Solomon Islanders. Thousands of Solomon Islander males also passed through on their way to work on plantations and as boat crews, hospital patients and prisoners. The history of the Tulagi enclave provides an understanding of the origins of modern Solomon Islands. Tulagi was also a significant outpost of the British Empire in the Pacific, which enables a close analysis of race, sex and class and the process of British colonisation and government in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Contested Terrain »

Reconceptualising Security in the Pacific

Authored by: Steven Ratuva
Publication date: September 2019
Contested Terrain provides a cutting-edge, comprehensive and innovative approach to critically analysing the multidimensional and contested nature of security narratives, justified by different ideological, political, cultural and economic rationales. This is important in a complex and ever-changing situation involving a dynamic interplay between local, regional and global factors. Security narratives are constructed in multiple ways and are used to frame our responses to the challenges and threats to our sense of safety, wellbeing, identity and survival but how the narratives are constructed is a matter of intellectual and political contestation. Using three case studies from the Pacific (Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands), Contested Terrain shows the different security challenges facing each country, which result from their unique historical, political and socio-cultural circumstances. Contrary to the view that the Pacific is a generic entity with common security issues, this book argues for more localised and nuanced approaches to security framing and analysis.

Understanding Oceania »

Celebrating the University of the South Pacific and its collaboration with The Australian National University

Publication date: May 2019
This book is inspired by the University of the South Pacific, the leading institution of higher education in the Pacific Islands region. Founded in 1968, USP has expanded the intellectual horizons of generations of students from its 12 member countries—Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu—and been responsible for the formation of a regional elite of educated Pacific Islanders who can be found in key positions in government and commerce across the region. At the same time, this book celebrates the collaboration of USP with The Australian National University in research, doctoral training, teaching and joint activities. Twelve of our 19 contributors gained their doctorates at ANU, most of them before or after being students and/or teaching staff at USP, and the remaining five embody the cross-fertilisation in teaching, research and consultancy of the two institutions. The contributions to this collection, with a few exceptions, are republications of key articles on the Pacific Islands by scholars with extensive experience and knowledge of the region.

A Doctor Across Borders »

Raphael Cilento and public health from empire to the United Nations

Publication date: February 2019
In his day, Raphael Cilento was one of the most prominent and controversial figures in Australian medicine. As a senior medical officer in the Commonwealth and Queensland governments, he was an active participant in public health reform during the inter-war years and is best known for his vocal engagement with public discourse on the relationship between hygiene, race and Australian nationhood. Yet Cilento’s work on tropical hygiene and social welfare ranged beyond Australia, especially when he served as a colonial medical officer in British Malaya and in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. He also worked with the League of Nations Health Organization in the Pacific Islands and oversaw international social welfare programs for the United Nations. On one level, this professional mobility allowed ideas and practices of public health and government to circulate between colonial spaces of northern Australia, the Pacific Islands and Asia. On another, it meant that Cilento’s Pacific colonialism and colonial experience shaped his understanding of Australian national health and welfare. Rather than attempt a comprehensive biography of Cilento, this book instead uses this border-crossing career as a means to explore several material and discursive facets of Australia’s relationships to the Pacific and the world.

The Promise of Prosperity  »

Visions of the Future in Timor-Leste

Edited by: Judith Bovensiepen
Publication date: December 2018
For the people of Timor-Leste, independence promised a fundamental transformation from foreign occupation to self-rule, from brutality to respect for basic rights, and from poverty to prosperity. In the eyes of the country’s political leaders, revenue from the country’s oil and gas reserves is the means by which that transformation could be effected. Over the past decade, they have formulated ambitious plans for state-led development projects and rapid economic growth. Paradoxically, these modernist visions are simultaneously informed by and contradict ideas stemming from custom, religion, accountability and responsibility to future generations. This book explores how the promise of prosperity informs policy and how policy debates shape expectations about the future in one of the world’s newest and poorest nation-states.