- Paperback: 268 pages
- Publisher: Indiana University Press (IPS) (1 December 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0253014522
- ISBN-13: 978-0253014528
- Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 1.5 x 25.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba Paperback – 1 Dec 2014
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Teaiwa displays artfully the powerful potential of interdisciplinarity as an approach toward gaining a richer and deeper understanding of Pacific pasts and peoples.--The Contemporary Pacific
A detailed ethnography of Banaba undertaken by a researcher who hails from this 'very, very small island' . . . is an example of reflectivity and insightful scholarship. This is not a book to be taken lightly, but rather should be suggested to anyone with an interest in material culture, globalization, and post-colonial and ecological studies.--Antipode
Teaiwa deals with the great sense of betrayal, loss, and displacement indigenous Banabans suffered through as well as the harsh physical toll decades of excessive mining has taken on the land. With a justified sense of outrage, Teaiwa educates her audience without alienating it, laying bare the consequences of reaping such a natural bounty at the expense of others.--Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Katerina Martina Teaiwa is Head of the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies and Pacific Studies Convener in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. Born and raised in the Fiji Islands, she is of Banaban, I-Kiribati, and African American heritage.
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I found the book to be interesting in parts, hard work in others due to the excessive use of vocabulary usually confined to academic papers, the excessive use towards the end of passages in Gilbertese, and somewhat lacking credibility in the part about white employees of the British Phosphate Commission (BPC) and their life in the fifties and sixties. For example, I remember quite well the day we had the phone installed in the mid fifties. My father as assistant accountant was one of those who was 'chosen' as one of the first to get a line. To have read that someone arrived on the island in the thirties and that the European houses had telephones is just not correct. We lived next door to the Wills family in Tabwewa and my sister is friends with the eldest of the THREE not four sisters to this day. Noel Frye was NOT an engineer but was manager of the trade store. Harry Wills was a big man but Bert Pascal was the island accountant of the day, not Harry. 'Mac' MacRobert was one of the personalities of the two islands in my time. It is suggested in the book he was gay. This is unsubstantiated and serves only to give a little chuckle to the stories of Mary Zaysmer, who, based on the fact she got everything wrong about the Wills family, has no credibility in my eyes. This section of the book is weakly researched and a cursory glance at Facebook would have allowed dozens of people to be contacted through one of the Island sites.
I have no doubt that the author did plenty of research at an academic level and the book no doubt serves as an interesting and passionate account of how the Banabans lost so much physically, emotionally and culturally. To this day the tussle continues. It may be of interest to the author that the decision to relocate the Banabans was seen by many or even most of the individual BPC staffers who were on the island after the war as highly beneficial to them. My father used to say that Rabi was a far better island than Banaba and their future was secure in a place where natural resources like water and fertile soil were abundant. It reflects the paternal, even patronizing approach we had to the islanders at the time. These days it would never happen but we can't turn back time. Likewise, the use of the term, 'boy' was used as we in Australia would say, 'mate' to someone we don't know. In fact the common use for us was 'noh' (short 'o') which was how they addressed themselves if they didn't know each other's names. And the wash 'janes' were wash 'tianes', which, unless I am mistaken is a word meaning 'girl' or 'woman'. I am prepared to be wrong there but it has been a long time.
This book is not for everybody and if you are a former Phosphateer or the descendant of one , you will find it unfulfilling. If you want some historical insight into the Colonial approach to the displacement of an indigenous people for 'the greater good', you might find it inside.
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