Harold White Fellow Presentation

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Melanesia:
The History and Politics of an Idea

Professor Stephanie Lawson
Monday 14 November, 5.30 pm
Conference Room, free

‘Melanesia’ is a partly geographic, partly cultural term, which has
become part of ordinary descriptive language. The name has
always been used to distinguish Melanesia from other parts of
the Pacific Island world, namely Polynesia and Micronesia. Yet
‘Melanesia’ is much more than a descriptor. It is loaded with
significance, carrying both positive and negative connotations. How has the idea of Melanesia developed since its origins in racialist European ethnography to the contemporary period? What are the implications of Melanesia as an organising idea in contemporary regional politics?

Stephanie Lawson is Professor of Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University. Her research focuses on postcolonial approaches to history and politics in the Pacific.

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