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Bearing Witness: Essays in honour of Brij V.Lal


Sam Alasia is a private consultant, based in Honiara. From 1983 to 1988, he assisted Greg Denning and later Hugh Laracy in coordinating a Peoples’ History project, which was published as Ples blong Iumi: The Past Four Thousand Years (1989). From 1989 to 1997, Alasia was a Member of the Solomon Islands Parliament and in 2000–01 he acted as a Special Adviser to the Prime Minister in brokering a peace deal between the warring militia groups of Malaita and Guadalcanal. His publications include a novel, Fata’abu: The Voice of God (2003), and a chapter entitled ‘Rainbows across the mountains: The first post-RAMSI general elections’, in Politics and State Building in Solomon Islands edited by Sinclair Dinnen and Stewart Firth (2008). Alasia is currently completing a book on the ethnic crisis in the Solomons within the broad framework of state- and nation-building in the Solomons.

Lance Brennan, having taught Indian History at Flinders University from 1973 to 1999, is now an adjunct Associate Professor. He has published on the agrarian and political history of Uttar Pradesh, famine and its relief, and—with Ralph Shlomowitz and John McDonald—has published Well Being in India, Studies in Anthropometric History.

Jack Corbett is Associate Professor in Politics at the University of Southampton; Honorary Associate Professor at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, The Australian National University; and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University. He is the author of Being Political: Leadership and Democracy in the Pacific Islands (2015), Australia’s Foreign Aid Dilemma: Humanitarian Aspirations Confront Democratic Legitimacy (2017), and co-editor with Brij V. Lal of Political Life Writing in the Pacific: Reflections on Practice (2015). His current book project is entitled Democracy in Small States: Why It Can Persist Against All Odds.

Robert Cribb took his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, with a thesis on Jakarta during the Indonesian revolution, 1945–49. He held research positions at The Australian National University, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, where he was also director for two years. He rejoined The Australian National University at the beginning of 2003. His research deals with national identity, mass violence, historical geography and environmental politics, especially in Indonesia. His books include Historical Atlas of Northeast Asia 1590–2010: Korea, Manchuria, Mongolia, Eastern Siberia (2014, with Li Narangoa), Wild Man from Borneo: A Cultural History of the Orangutan (2014, with Helen Gilbert and Helen Tiffin) and Japanese War Criminals: The Politics of Justice after the Second World War (2017, with Sandra Wilson, Beatrice Trefalt and Dean Aszkielowicz).

Stewart Firth is a Research Fellow at the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. He was Professor of Politics at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, 1998–2004. He co-edited From Election to Coup in Fiji: The 2006 Campaign and its Aftermath (2007), Politics and State-Building in Solomon Islands (2008) and The 2006 Military Takeover in Fiji: A Coup to End All Coups? (2009), all published by ANU E Press. His most recent book is Australia in International Politics: An Introduction to Australian Foreign Policy, 3rd ed., Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2011. He is chair of the Pacific Editorial Board for ANU Press, and he teaches an ANU undergraduate course on Pacific Politics.

Kate Fortune has been involved in various aspects of the book trade throughout her working life, and has been employed as an editor in Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. After becoming administrator at the NZ Book Council (1977–80), she was Director of Booksellers NZ (1980–87) and later worked for Allen & Unwin and Bridget Williams Books. She was Publications Coordinator, National Library of Australia (1994–96) and was co-editor (with Brij Lal) of The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia (2000). Now in retirement in Wellington, she is a board member of the Peppercorn Press (publisher of New Zealand Books Pukapuka Aotearoa) and of the Turnbull Library Record.

Yash Pal Ghai has taught at several universities in different parts of the world, with long spells at the University of East Africa at Dar es Salaam, Warwick University and the University of Hong Kong. He was visiting professor at a number of universities including Harvard, Yale and Cape Town, as well as the University of the South Pacific and the National University of Singapore. His primary area of interest is public law, particularly in multiethnic countries. He has written or edited over 20 books and over 150 articles in world’s leading journals. He has also written or helped to write a number of constitutions, including that of his own country Kenya, as well as Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nepal and Somalia.

Nicholas Halter is a history lecturer at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. He completed his PhD in 2015, under the supervision of Brij Lal, on Australian travel writing about the Pacific Islands, and is currently working on a history of tourism in Fiji.

David Hanlon first came to the Pacific in 1970 with the Peace Corps. He holds an MA degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a doctorate in Pacific Islands history from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. David is the author of the award-winning book Upon a Stone Altar: A History of the Island of Pohnpei to 1890 (1988) and the more recent Making Micronesia: A Political Biography of Tosiwo Nakayama (2014). He is also co-editor with Geoffrey M. White of Voyaging Through the Contemporary Pacific (2000). He was one of the founders of The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs and served as its editor for seven years before becoming editor of the Pacific Islands Monograph Series. He also sits on the editorial board of the University of Hawai‘i Press.

Vilsoni Hereniko Vilsoni Hereniko was born in Rotuma, Fiji. He is a playwright, screenwriter, stage and film director, and Professor of Creative Media at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He has a PhD in Language and Literature from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. He is a former director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa as well as the Oceania Center for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific. He is also a former editor of the award-winning journal The Contemporary Pacific and is author of Woven Gods: Female Clowns and Power in Rotuma (1995). After The Land Has Eyes, his second feature film is called Until the Dolphin Flies, and is slated for production in 2018.

Martha Kaplan is Professor of Anthropology, Vassar College. A cultural and historical anthropologist who studies meaning in colonial and postcolonial situations, she has pursued research in Fiji, India, upper New York State and Singapore. She is author of Neither Cargo Nor Cult: Ritual Politics and the Colonial Imagination in Fiji (1995), co-author (with John Kelly) of Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization (2001), editor of Outside Gods and Foreign Powers: Making Local History with Global Means in the Pacific (Ethnohistory special issue 2005) and co-editor (with John Kelly and Bernard Bate) of Ethnographic Notes on the Funeral Rituals for Lee Kuan Yew, special section of JMBRAS (2016). Her current research and publications on the cultural politics of water, supported by the Wenner Gren Foundation, the National Science Foundation and a Fulbright Fellowship, focus comparatively on drinking water and environmental imagination in Fiji, the United States and Singapore.

John D. Kelly, Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago, works on capitalism, colonialism, decolonisation and Pax Americana in the Pacific, especially Fiji and Singapore, and in India and Highland Asia. His books include A Politics of Virtue: Hinduism, Sexuality, and Countercolonial Discourse in Fiji (1991), a translation (with Uttra Singh) of My Twenty-One Years in the Fiji Islands by Totaram Sanadhya (published in Fiji in 1991), Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization (2001) (with Martha Kaplan), The American Game: Capitalism, Decolonization, World Domination and Baseball (2006), Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency (co-editor, 2010), The Ontological Turn in French Philosophical Anthropology (2014) (editor), Corporate Social Responsibility? Human Rights in the New Global Economy (co-editor, 2015) and A Practice of Anthropology: The Thought and Influence of Marshall Sahlins (co-editor, 2016). His next book, on the Asian Highlands, concerns decolonisation, the Bandung Conference, ongoing counterinsurgencies, and the paradoxes of actual self-determination.

Doug Munro is a Wellington-based biographer and historian who has taught at universities in Queensland and Fiji. He is now an Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Queensland. His publications include The Ivory Tower and Beyond: Participant Historians of the Pacific (2009), J.C. Beaglehole: Public Intellectual, Critical Conscience (2012) and co-authorship of Crisis: The Collapse of the National Bank of Fiji (2002). In the 2000s he was involved in a major project on suicide in twentieth-century New Zealand, under the direction of John C. Weaver (McMaster University). Doug is currently working on a history of the New Zealand Opera Company (which his father founded) with the aid of a research grant from the Friends of the Turnbull Library.

Robert Norton has researched on political development in Fiji since 1966. His Race and Politics in Fiji, the first book-length study of the development of national politics in Fiji, was published by the University of Queensland Press and St Martin’s Press in 1977. An extensively revised edition, now available online, was published by University of Queensland Press in 1990. He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on various aspects of Fiji’s politics; his article ‘Averting irresponsible nationalism: Political origins of Ratu Sukuna’s Fijian Administration’ was awarded the prize for the best research paper published in the Journal of Pacific History in 2013. He has also researched village politics and social change in Western Samoa, and social aspects of industrial wage employment in the Kingdom of Tonga. He was a foundation member of the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University in Sydney and lectured there from 1969 until 2004.

Clem Seecharan studied at McMaster University in Canada, and taught Caribbean Studies at the University of Guyana before completing his doctorate in History at the University of Warwick in 1990. He joined the staff of the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University) and was Head of Caribbean Studies for 20 years. In 2002, he was awarded a Professorship in History at London Metropolitan University, where he is now Emeritus Professor of History. Among his many publications are Bechu: ‘Bound Coolie’ Radical in British Guiana (1999); Sweetening Bitter Sugar: Jock Campbell, the Booker Reformer in British Guiana (2005) which was awarded the Elsa Goveia Prize by the Association of Caribbean Historians; and Finding Myself: Essays in Race, Politics and Culture. He is writing a three-volume history of cricket in Guyana, the first of which is published.

Ralph Shlomowitz is an economic historian who taught at Flinders University from 1975 to 2007. In 2004, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. His research concentrated on the economics of coercive labour systems, anthropometric history and the link between mortality and migration.

Tessa Morris-Suzuki is Distinguished Professor of Japanese History and Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow in the College of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University. Her publications include Re-inventing Japan: Time, Space, Nation (1997), Exodus to North Korea: Shadows from Japan’s Cold War (2007), Borderline Japan: Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era (2010) and East Asia Beyond the History Wars: Confronting the Ghosts of Violence (co-authored, 2013). She is currently engaged in an ARC Laureate project on ‘informal life politics’ in Northeast Asia, looking at self-help grassroots schemes to address social and political problems in six countries of the region, including Japan, China and Korea. An outcome of this research is New Worlds From Below: Informal Life Politics and Grassroots Action in Twenty-First Century Northeast Asia (co-edited, 2017).

Goolam Vahed is a Professor of History at the University of KwaZulu Natal. He received his PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, and has worked on identity formation, citizenship, ethnicity, migration and transnationalism among Indian South Africans, as well as the role of sport and culture in South African society. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and his recent co-authored books include Schooling Muslims in Natal: Identity, State and the Orient Islamic Educational Institute (2015) and The South African Gandhi. Stretcher-Bearer of Empire (2016). He is currently working on a project on migration from Porbandar in Gujarat, India, to Durban, South Africa, entitled A Small Ocean: Family, Religion and Trade between Porbander and Durban, c. 1870–1920s.

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