Format Type: PDF, ePub
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During her first visit to the beautiful island of Pohnpei in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, anthropologist Martha Ward discovered people who grew quarter-ton yams in secret and ritually shared a powerful drink called kava. She managed a medical research project, ate dog, became pregnant, and responded to spells placed on her. Thirty years later she returned to Pohnpei to learn what had happened there since her first visit. Were islanders still relaxed and casual about sex? Were they still obsessed with titles and social rank? Was the island still lush and beautiful? Had the inhabitants remained healthy? This second edition of Wards best-selling account is a rare, longitudinal study that tracks people, processes, and a place through decades of change. It is also an intimate record of doing fieldwork that immerses readers in the sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and the sensory richness of Pohnpei. Ward addresses the ageless ethnographic questions about family life, politics, religion, traditional medicine, magic, and death together with contemporary concerns about postcolonial survival, the discontinuities of culture, and adaptation to the demands of a global age. Her insightful discoveries illuminate the evolution of a culture possibly distant from yet important to people living in other parts of the world.