Synthetic histories: Possible futures for papuan pasts

Chris Ballard*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article considers the case for synthetic histories-broad narratives of historical process that critically combine the insights and perspectives of research from multiple disciplines. Drawing on the 28 contributions to the edited volume Papuan Pasts, on the deep history of the Papuan peoples, a brief synthesis of findings is offered in the form of a narrative. This enables the identification of a series of gaps, not just in the spatial and temporal coverage of research but also in the range of perspectives employed. The absence of Papuan voices is particularly challenging, and suggests that the future of Papuan histories lies in the closer articulation of a concern for deep time and questions of the genesis and immediate past of living Papuan communities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)232-257
    Number of pages26
    JournalReviews in Anthropology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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