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German Ethnography in Australia »

Publication date: September 2017
The contribution of German ethnography to Australian anthropological scholarship on Aboriginal societies and cultures has been limited, primarily because few people working in the field read German. But it has also been neglected because its humanistic concerns with language, religion and mythology contrasted with the mainstream British social anthropological tradition that prevailed in Australia until the late 1960s. The advent of native title claims, which require drawing on the earliest ethnography for any area, together with an increase in research on rock art of the Kimberley region, has stimulated interest in this German ethnography, as have some recent book translations. Even so, several major bodies of ethnography, such as the 13 volumes on the cultures of northeastern South Australia and the seven volumes on the Aranda of the Alice Springs region, remain inaccessible, along with many ethnographically rich articles and reports in mission archives. In 18 chapters, this book introduces and reviews the significance of this neglected work, much of it by missionaries who first wrote on Australian Aboriginal cultures in the 1840s. Almost all of these German speakers, in particular the missionaries, learnt an Aboriginal language in order to be able to document religious beliefs, mythology and songs as a first step to conversion. As a result, they produced an enormously valuable body of work that will greatly enrich regional ethnographies.

Global Allies »

Comparing US Alliances in the 21st Century

Edited by: Michael Wesley
Publication date: June 2017
The global system of alliances that the United States built after the Second World War underpinned the stability and prosperity of the postwar order. But during the 20th century, the multilateral NATO alliance system in Europe and the bilateral San Francisco alliance system in Asia rarely interacted. This changed in the early 21st century, as US allies came together to fight and stabilise conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia. This volume presents the first-ever comparative study of US alliances in Europe and Asia from the perspectives of US allies: the challenges, opportunities and shifting dynamics of these fundamental pillars of order. This volume is essential reading for those interested in contemporary and future regional and global security dynamics.

Pacific Islanders Under German Rule »

A Study in the Meaning of Colonial Resistance

Publication date: June 2016
This is an important book. It is a reprint of the first detailed study of how Pacific Islanders responded politically and economically to their rulers across the German empire of the Pacific. Under one cover, it captures the variety of interactions between the various German colonial administrations, with their separate approaches, and the leaders and people of Samoa in Polynesia, the major island centre of Pohnpei in Micronesia and the indigenes of New Guinea. Drawing on anthropology, new Pacific history insights and a range of theoretical works on African and Asian resistance from the 1960s and 1970s, it reveals the complexities of Islander reactions and the nature of protests against German imperial rule. It casts aside old assumptions that colonised peoples always resisted European colonisers. Instead, this book argues convincingly that Islander responses were often intelligent and subtle manipulations of their rulers’ agendas, their societies dynamic enough to make their own adjustments to the demands of empire. It does not shy away from major blunders by German colonial administrators, nor from the strategic and tactical mistakes of Islander leaders. At the same time, it raises the profile of several large personalities on both sides of the colonial frontier, including Lauaki Namulau’ulu Mamoe and Wilhelm Solf in Samoa; Henry Nanpei, Georg Fritz and Karl Boeder in Pohnpei; or Governor Albert Hahl and Po Minis from Manus Island in New Guinea.

The Naturalist and his 'Beautiful Islands' »

Charles Morris Woodford in the Western Pacific

Publication date: October 2014
‘I know no place where firm and paternal government would sooner produce beneficial results then in the Solomons … Here is an object worthy indeed the devotion of one’s life’. Charles Morris Woodford devoted his working life to pursuing this dream, becoming the first British Resident Commissioner in 1897 and remaining in office until 1915, establishing the colonial state almost singlehandedly. His career in the Pacific extended beyond the Solomon Islands. He worked briefly for the Western Pacific High Commission in Fiji, was a temporary consul in Samoa, and travelled as a Government Agent on a small labour vessel returning indentured workers to the Gilbert Islands. As an independent naturalist he made three successful expeditions to the islands, and even climbed Mt Popomanaseu, the highest mountain in Guadalcanal. However, his natural history collection of over 20,000 specimens, held by the British Museum of Natural History, has not been comprehensively examined. The British Solomon Islands Protectorate was established in order to control the Pacific Labour Trade and to counter possible expansion by French and German colonialists. It remaining an impoverished, largely neglected protectorate in the Western Pacific whose economic importance was large-scale copra production, with its copra considered the second-worst in the world. This book is a study of Woodford, the man, and what drove his desire to establish a colonial protectorate in the Solomon Islands. In doing so, it also addresses ongoing issues: not so much why the independent state broke down, but how imperfectly it was put together in the first place. David Russell Lawrence is an anthropologist who has managed environmental programs in Melanesia and Southeast Asia for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. His most recent book was a re-examination of the place in Melanesian anthropology of the Finnish sociologist Gunnar Landtman who spent two years working with the Kiwai people of the lower Fly estuary. He recently managed a large-scale survey of 300 communities in the Solomon Islands for the Community Sector Program and has assisted with a number of the annual RAMSI People’s Surveys in the islands. This work has given him insight into the colonial heritage of the Solomon Islands and a desire to tell the story of the establishment of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate through the eyes of the first Resident Commissioner, Charles Morris Woodford.

The Aranda's Pepa »

An introduction to Carl Strehlow’s Masterpiece Die Aranda- und Loritja-Stämme in Zentral-Australien (1907-1920)

Authored by: Anna Kenny
Publication date: December 2013
The German missionary Carl Strehlow (1871-1922) had a deep ethnographic interest in Aboriginal Australian cosmology and social life which he documented in his 7 volume work Die Aranda- und Loritja-Stämme in Zentral-Australien that remains unpublished in English. In 1913, Marcel Mauss called his collection of sacred songs and myths, an Australian Rig Veda. This immensely rich corpus, based on a lifetime on the central Australian frontier, is barely known in the English-speaking world and is the last great body of early Australian ethnography that has not yet been built into the world of Australian anthropology and its intellectual history. The German psychological and hermeneutic traditions of anthropology that developed outside of a British-Australian intellectual world were alternatives to 19th century British scientism. The intellectual roots of early German anthropology reached back to Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), the founder of German historical particularism, who rejected the concept of race as well as the French dogma of the uniform development of civilisation. Instead he recognised unique sets of values transmitted through history and maintained that cultures had to be viewed in terms of their own development and purpose. Thus, humanity was made up of a great diversity of ways of life, language being one of its main manifestations. It is this tradition that led to a concept of cultures in the plural.

Watriama and Co »

Further Pacific Islands Portraits

Authored by: Hugh Laracy
Publication date: October 2013
Watriama and Co (the title echoes Kipling’s Stalky and Co!) is a collection of biographical essays about people associated with the Pacific Islands. It covers a period of almost a century and a half. However, the individual stories of first-hand experience converge to some extent in various ways so as to present a broadly coherent picture of ‘Pacific History’. In this, politics, economics and religion overlap. So, too, do indigenous cultures and concerns; together with the activities and interests of the Europeans who ventured into the Pacific and who had a profound, widespread and enduring impact there from the nineteenth century, and who also prompted reactions from the Island peoples. Not least significant in this process is the fact that the Europeans generated a ‘paper trail’ through which their stories and those of the Islanders (who also contributed to their written record) can be known. Thus, not only are the subjects of the essays to be encountered personally, and within a contextual kinship, but the way in which the past has shaped the future is clearly discernible. Watriama himself features in various historical narratives. So, too, certain of his confrères in this collection, which is the product of several decades of exploring the Pacific past in archives, by sea, and on foot through most of Oceania.

Humanities Research Journal Series: Volume XIX No. 1. 2013 »

Nationalism and Biography: European Perspectives

Edited by: Jonathan Hearn, Christian Wicke
Publication date: January 2013
Humanities Research is an internationally peer-reviewed journal published by the Research School of Humanities at The Australian National University. The Research School of Humanities came into existence in January 2007 and consists of the Humanities Research Centre, Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, National Europe Centre and Australian National Dictionary Centre. Launched in 1997, issues are thematic with guest editors and address important and timely topics across all branches of the humanities.

The Hmong of Australia »

Culture and Diaspora

Edited by: Nicholas Tapp, Gary Yia Lee
Publication date: November 2010
The Hmong are among Australia’s newest immigrant populations. They came as refugees from Laos after the communist revolution of 1975 ended their life there as highland shifting cultivators. The Hmong originate from southern China where many still remain, and others live in Vietnam, Thailand and Burma. Hmong refugees are now also settled in the USA, Canada, France, Germany and French Guyana. Already the beauty and richness of traditional Hmong culture, in particular their shamanism and embroidered costume, has attracted the attention of the Australian public, but little is known about these people, their background or the struggles they have faced to adjust to a new life in Australia.This interdisciplinary collection of articles deals with their music and textiles, gender and language, their social adaptation and their global diaspora. The book aims to bring knowledge of the Hmong to a wider public and contribute to the understanding of these people.

Fresh Perspectives on the "War on Terror" »

Edited by: Miriam Gani, Penelope Mathew
Publication date: July 2008
On 20 September 2001, in an address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American people, President George W Bush declared a ‘war on terror’. The concept of the ‘war on terror’ has proven to be both an attractive and a potent rhetorical device. It has been adopted and elaborated upon by political leaders around the world, particularly in the context of military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. But use of the rhetoric has not been confined to the military context. The ‘war on terror’ is a domestic one, also, and the phrase has been used to account for broad criminal legislation, sweeping agency powers and potential human rights abuses throughout much of the world. This collection seeks both to draw on and to engage critically with the metaphor of war in the context of terrorism. It brings together a group of experts from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany who write about terrorism from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including international law and international relations, public and constitutional law, criminal law and criminology, legal theory, and psychology and law.

Arndt's Story »

The life of an Australian economist

Authored by: Peter Coleman, Selwyn Cornish, Peter Drake
Publication date: March 2007
‘H.W. Arndt has been Australia’s leading scholar of Asian economic development for over thirty years’ - Former World Bank President James D Wolfensohn. The year of Heinz Wolfgang Arndt’s birth, 1915, was not a good time for a German boy to be born. His country was soon to be defeated in a great war, his school years were shadowed by the rise of Hitler. Yet when Heinz’s long-buried Jewish background led his academic father to lose his chair in chemistry and flee to Oxford, Heinz followed. As Heinz put it, the calamity of Hitler’s rise to power led him to ‘the incredible good fortune of an Oxford education and a life spent in England and Australia.’ This was a man of inexhaustible energy and optimism, who returned from months behind barbed wire interned in Canada to write a historical classic—The Economic Lessons of the Nineteen-Thirties. He seized the opportunity of an unexpected job offer to set off with his young family for Sydney where he quickly established himself as a leading authority on the Australian banking system, embarked on his fifty year career as a gifted university teacher and enjoyed the first of many vigorous forays as a public intellectual. But it was at ANU that Heinz took the bold step which led him to become the Grand Old Man of Asian Economics. In 1966, just after the Sukarno coup and the year of living dangerously, he determined the time had come to study the Indonesian economy. It took all his charm, persistence and formidable intellect to persuade the Indonesians to open their doors to him. The result was a world-leading centre of Indonesian economics which greatly contributed to the development of modern Indonesia.