This entirely new book is written collaboratively by experts on different regions of Oceania. It presents a unique tool for instructors and general readers who wish to become more familiar with the peoples of the Pacific and for scholars looking for an analytical conspectus on this part of the world. Oceania combines surveys of prehistory and history with careful discussions of cultural patterns and problems arising out of contemporary political and economic change.
General discussions on specific islands or sub-regions are followed by wide-ranging studies that bring together classic themes and recent, pertinent issues. Readers will find the book easy to understand, and instructors will find the layout of the materials simple to set into course syllabi.
Each section of the book probes issues that are significant for the study of the peoples of Oceania. These issues range from the contemporary interpretation and manifestation of traditional concepts such as "aloha" ("pity," "love," "affection," "sympathy," or "empathy") to the development of ethnicity and political conflict between local and national levels within the state, to the long-term influence of forms of Christianity and their intertwining with indigenous religion and ritual.
Throughout Oceania, the authors emphasize the vitality and adaptability of Pacific Islanders in their rapidly transforming world, while analyzing their culture and cultural issues in a style and format accessible for students and interested readers alike.