Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology


The occupation of Micronesia and other Pacific territories by the United States forces as a result of the defeat of Japan has opened up prospects for conducting research in the Pacific on a wider and perhaps more comprehensive scale than was previously possible. With this in mind, the National Research Council, the Social Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies cooperated in the formation of a committee consisting of Dr. Wilmot H. Bradley, Dr. Austin H. Clark, Dr. John W. Coulter, and Dr. Mortimer Graves. The committee met in Washington on August 11, 1944 and approved a statement which planned an appraisal of the work done in the four following fields: earth sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. The first unit of the appraisal was to cover Polynesia, and later units were planned to include Melanesia, Micronesia, the Philippines, and possibly Indonesia.

Dr. Coulter, who was appointed chairman of the survey and editor of the social science papers, invited me to prepare an appraisal of anthropology in Polynesia. The material was so extensive that, in order to do it justice, my report far exceeded the form of appraisal which the committee had in mind. As a large portion of the report deals with details concerning the intensive regional survey of anthropology in Polynesia conducted by Bishop Museum, the Trustees of the Museum have decided to publish the report independently, as a contribution to the survey.

The appraisal committee now working with the Committee on Pacific Investigation of the National Research Council under the chairmanship of Dr. Herbert E. Gregory has received papers on "Functional and psychological studies in Polynesia" by Edwin G. Burrows, "Acculturation in Polynesia" by Felix M. Keesing, and "Education in Polynesia" by Marie Keesing. These, with perhaps other papers, should form a volume completing the appraisal of Polynesian anthropology to which this volume is an introduction.

I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Edwin G. Burrows, who read the manuscript of this report and suggested corrections and additions which have been gratefully adopted.