“The volume provides an intimate exploration of Suau perceptions of time and space. Drawing on more than 20 years of experience, Demian achieves a nuanced portrayal of how Suau culture reacted to the loss of global connections during the past several decades…Exploring the Melanesian concepts of land as a space instantiated by the human relationships that fill it, this thoughtful, innovative study offers much to the contemporary discipline of anthropology.” • Choice
“Brilliant ethnography…This is an important and welcome book. Demian writes beautifully, moving seamlessly from vivid ethnographic description to acute theoretical and comparative analysis.” • Pacific Affairs
“This beautifully written ethnography challenges the social sciences to rethink longstanding approaches to belonging, identity, place, and change. It is an extraordinary contribution to sociocultural anthropology.” • Paige West, Columbia University
Drawing on twenty years of research, this book examines the historical perspective of a Pacific people who saw “globalization” come and go. Suau people encountered the leading edge of missionization and colonialism in Papua New Guinea and were active participants in the Second World War. In Memory of Times to Come offers a nuanced account of how people assess their own experience of change over the course of a critical century. It asks two key questions: What does it mean to claim that global connections are in the past rather than the present or the future, and what does it mean to claim that one has lost one’s culture, but not because anyone else took it away or destroyed it?
Melissa Demian is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. She has conducted research in Papua New Guinea for over twenty years, and has published on the topics of customary law, legal pluralism, legal history, child adoption, narratives of cultural loss and cultural patrimony, gender, and urbanization.
LC: DU744.35.S83 D46 2021
BISAC: SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural & Social; SOC005000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Customs & Traditions; SOC042000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Developing Countries