Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in Theory : Archaeological Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in Theory
Archaeological Perspectives

Edited By

Tim Thomas

ISBN 9781138303553
Published July 28, 2020 by Routledge
348 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in Theory explores the role of theory in Pacific archaeology and its interplay with archaeological theory worldwide.

The contributors assess how the practice of archaeology in Pacific contexts has led to particular types of theoretical enquiry and interest, and, more broadly, how the Pacific is conceptualised in the archaeological imagination. Long seen as a laboratory environment for the testing and refinement of social theory, the Pacific islands occupy a central place in global theoretical discourse. This volume highlights this role through an exploration of how Pacific models and exemplars have shaped, and continue to shape, approaches to the archaeological past. The authors evaluate key theoretical perspectives and explore current and future directions in Pacific archaeology. In doing so, attention is paid to the influence of Pacific people and environments in motivating and shaping theory-building.

Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in Theory makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how theory develops attuned to the affordances and needs of specific contexts, and how those contexts promote reformulation and development of theory elsewhere. It will be fascinating to scholars and archaeologists interested in the Pacific region, as well as students of wider archaeological theory.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Contributors

1 Theory in the Pacific, and the Pacific in theory

Tim Thomas

2 Theory beyond the calm ocean? The Pacific contribution to global island archaeology

Thomas P. Leppard and Scott M. Fitzpatrick

3 Pacific island archaeology and evolutionary theory

Ethan E. Cochrane

4 Controlled comparison and the phylogenetic model in Polynesian culture history

Patrick V. Kirch

5 Pacific ethnography, archaeology, and the pattern of global prehistoric social life

Mark Golitko

6 Preceramic shell-working, Caution Bay and the Circum-New Guinea Archipelago

Katherine Szabó, Bruno David, Ian J. McNiven, and Matthew Leavesley

7 Pacific colonisation as process and practice

Tim Thomas

8 The political economy of prestige practices in the Pacific: understanding Lapita and after

Matthew Spriggs

9 Anarchist theory in the Pacific and 'Pacific anarchists' in archaeological thought

James L. Flexner

10 Opening discursive space: New Guinea’s contribution to the history of early agriculture

Tim Denham

11 Settlement patterns and networks: secondary centres and elite ritual-political power in the Society Islands chiefdoms

Jennifer G. Kahn

12 Gender archaeology in Polynesia: past, present, and future

Cynthia L. Van Gilder

13 Entangled histories: oral history and archaeology in the Pacific

Peter J. Sheppard

14 Taking indigenous theory seriously: whakapapa and chevron pendants

Yvonne Marshall



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Tim Thomas is Senior Lecturer in the Archaeology programme at the University of Otago, New Zealand, specialising in the archaeological landscapes and material culture of the Solomon Islands, and longer-term processes of Pacific colonisation. A past editor of the Journal of Pacific Archaeology, his previous books include Lapita: Ancestors and Descendants (2009) and Monuments and People in the Pacific (2014).