The Ethnography of the Pacific Islands: Melanesia

ANTH 351 with John Barker.

The islands of Melanesia are home to one of the most culturally diverse populations on earth, speaking a third of the world’s languages. This course provides an overview of the cultures and history of the region. We will explore how different communities are coping with change, leading to transformations in their societies while remaining distinctly Melanesian in cultural orientation. In an increasingly integrated world, they face familiar challenges: an erosion of ancestral values, displacement from the land, environmental degradation, and a desire for improved material conditions. Their solutions, however, are unique and have much to teach us.