In Memory of Times to Come

In Memory of Times to Come

Ironies of History in Southeastern Papua New Guinea

Melissa Demian


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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:

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.