Animating the Ancestors in the Anthropology of the Trobriands

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    The Trobriand Islands in Papua New Guinea has been portrayed as a unique and sacred place in the genealogy of the discipline of anthropology, and especially that lineage which reveres Bronislaw Malinowski as one of its founding fathers. Mark Mosko’s recent book – Ways of Baloma – insists on the centrality of baloma (ancestral spirits) as palpable, perduring presences in the lives of contemporary Trobriand Islanders. We might say that this book also animates the baloma, the ancestral spirit of Malinowski, not so much through rituals of reverence but through iconoclastic arguments which erode the empirical and theoretical foundations of Malinowski’s corpus and much of the voluminous anthropological literature on the Trobriands.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)362-368
    JournalThe Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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