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An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology

Topical Studies

Topical Studies

In conclusion, it may be accepted that a vast amount of regional material has been recorded and the opportunity is afforded for making studies on Polynesia as a whole. In Williamson's exhaustive studies on social and political organization and religion (p. 78), he confined his area to what he termed central Polynesia, omitting Hawaii and New Zealand. However, there is much more material available now than at the time he wrote. Topical studies have been published on religion, fishhooks, gourds, and canoes, but there is a wide field open for other topical studies dealing with Polynesia as a whole. While single topics in material culture may be safely handled from the literature and museum specimens if due attention is paid to technique, more ambitious projects dealing with phases of social organization and religion require a certain amount of personal background derived from field work and acquaintance with the people. For students without a Polynesian background, it would perhaps be preferable to direct attention to Melanesia, the Polynesian outliers in Melanesia, and Micronesia where there are greater possibilities of untouched or imperfectly worked ground and where so much remains to be done.

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