Expressive Genres and Historical Change: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Taiwan, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Expressive Genres and Historical Change

Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Taiwan, 1st Edition

By Andrew Strathern

Edited by Pamela J. Stewart


284 pages

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Hardback: 9780754644187
pub: 2005-06-23
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This collection of essays, edited by leading scholars in the field, focuses on how expressive genres such as music, dance and poetry are of enduring significance to social organization. Research from New Guinea, Indonesia and Taiwan is used to assess how historical changes modify these forms of expression to adjust to the social and political needs of the moment. The volume is unique in exploring the significance of expressive genres for the social processes of coping with and adjusting to change, either from outside forces or from internal ones. The contributions detail first-hand fieldwork, often conducted over a period of many years, and with each contributor bringing their experience to bear on both the aesthetic and the analytical aspects of their materials. Comparative in scope, the volume covers Austronesian and non-Austronesian speakers in the wider Indo-Pacific region.


’This collection of essays is a welcome addition to the literature on expressive arts in the Indo-Pacific region. The topics of dance, music and poetry have been relatively little explored here by anthropologists, and this book, edited by two well known researchers, fills a significant gap. All of those with interests in these expressive genres, and Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Taiwan generally, will find it a most valuable collection.’ Professor Paul Sillitoe, University of Durham, UK ’The contributors…eloquently demonstrate how transformations in the political or religious landscape are reflected and enacted in reformulations of local cultural heritage and expressive styles…Through richly described and illustrated transformations of expressive forms, this book acquaints us with the flexibility and dynamics of aesthetic and narrative genres, and with the dilemmas, emotions and strategies of people in transitional situations.’ Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Andrew Strathern and Pamela J. Stewart; Chanted tales in the New Guinea Highlands of today: a comparative study, Alan Rumsey; Duna Pikono: a popular contemporary genre in the Papua New Guinea Highlands, Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern; ’Our Heart Always Remembers, We Think of the Words as Long as We Live’: sacred songs and the revitalization of Indigenous religion among the Indonesian Ngaju, Anne Schiller; Calling on the ancestors to stop crime: ritual performance in an age of intermittent violence, Janet Hoskins; The camera is working: Paiwan aesthetics and performances in Taiwan, Tai-li Hu; The aesthetics of politics: transforming genres and meanings in Melanesia, Lisette Josephides; Melpa songs and ballads: junctures of sympathy and desire in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, Andrew Strathern and Pamela J. Stewart; Emphatic speech, expressive genres, and the dancing-songs of the Eipo and Yalenang (Eastern Mountains of West Papua), Volker Heeschen; Index.

About the Author/Editor

Dr Pamela J. Stewart and Professor Andrew Strathern are collaborators who are based in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, and they are, respectively, Visiting Research Fellow and Visiting Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Durham, England. They have been Visiting Research Fellows at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan during 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. They have published many books and articles on their research in the Pacific, Asia, and Europe.

About the Series

Anthropology and Cultural History in Asia and the Indo-Pacific

This series offers a comprehensive view of Asian and Indo-Pacific anthropology and cultural history. It carries studies from China, Japan, South-East Asia, South Asia, and the entire Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand. Focusing mainly on detailed ethnographic studies, the series further incorporates pressing thematic work on issues of cross-regional impact, gender and globalization, precarity, refugees, and asylum-seekers, and alternative medical and wellness-seeking practices. The series aims to link anthropological theory with history and religious studies, with discussions of ritual, politics, religious change, and economics. Studies of adaptation and conflict in small-scale situations enmeshed in wider scale processes of transformation form a particular thematic focus. The series aims to reach a core audience of specialists in Asian and Pacific studies, but also to be accessible and valuable to a broader multidisciplinary readership.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General