Ancestral Lines: The Maisin of Papua New Guinea and the Fate of the Rainforest, Second Edition
This compelling ethnography offers a nuanced case study of the ways in which the Maisin of Papua New Guinea navigate pressing economic and environmental issues. Beautifully written and accessible to most readers, Ancestral Lines is designed with introductory cultural anthropology courses in mind. Barker has organized the book into chapters that mirror many of the major topics covered in introductory cultural anthropology, such as kinship, economic pursuit, social arrangements, gender relations, religion, politics, and the environment. The second edition has been revised throughout, with a new timeline of events and a final chapter that brings readers up to date on important events since 2002, including a devastating cyclone and a major court victory against the forestry industry.
- Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
- Division: Higher Education
- World Rights
- Page Count: 248 pages
- Illustrations: 27
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
ReviewsBarker's clear, engaging, and often self-reflexive writing style provides students with a readable and interesting ethnography.
"Ancestral Lines is a vivid portrait of how the Maisin draw upon their past to shape the modern present which,
like tapa designs, they continue to recreate anew. It is a rich, ambiguous depiction of rural PNG which should appeal
to multiple audiences. Because of the way it is written, theoretical simplicity, and first-person narratives of
fieldwork experience, the book is eminently suitable for entry-level undergraduates encountering cultural anthropology
for the first time. It would also be useful in courses on material culture in society and, of course, on sociocultural
change. In addition, Ancestral Lines is a welcome entry into the emerging literature on rural conservation in
David Lipset, Anthropos
Barker's book is beautifully organized, clearly written, and each chapter fits snugly within the confines of a basic topic included on all introductory syllabi. Moreover, unlike many ethnographies written specifically for undergraduates, this is a text that will neither talk down to nor bore students. Barker's finely observed discussions of such topics as reciprocity, kinship, and sorcery not only cover the major lines of argument surrounding them, but also add new ideas.
Joel Robbins, Oxford University
Ancestral Lines seems to get better each time I use it: it is that rare book that engages first-year students while providing the insight and intellectual depth upper-level courses require.
Dan Jorgensen, Western University
John Barker is a professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia. He has conducted anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and amongst the Nuxalk and Nisga'a First Nations of Canada. He has published extensively on Christianity amongst the indigenous peoples of Oceania and British Columbia, the history of anthropology, and the impact of environmental activists in Papua New Guinea.
Table of contentsList of Illustrations
1. Fieldwork among the Maisin
2. Making a Living
3. The Social Design
4. The Spiritual Realm
6. Culture Change: Tapa and the Rainforest
7. Ancestral Lines
Subjects and Courses