Winner of the Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize 2021
‘This book will be equally as valuable for historians of anthropology and colonialism; scholars working in Melanesia; and the Islander descendants of Haddon's interlocutors' - Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Recording Kastom brings readers into the heart of colonial Torres Strait and New Guinea through the personal journals of Cambridge zoologist and anthropologist Alfred Haddon, who visited the region in 1888 and 1898.
Haddon's published reports of these trips were hugely influential on the nascent discipline of anthropology, but his private journals and sketches have never been published in full. The journals record in vivid detail Haddon's observations and relationships. They highlight his preoccupation with documentation, and the central role played by the Islanders who worked with him to record kastom. This collaboration resulted in an enormous body of materials that remain of vital interest to Torres Strait Islanders and the communities where he worked. Haddon's Journals provide unique and intimate insights into the colonial history of the region will be an important resource for scholars in history, anthropology, linguistics and musicology.
This comprehensively annotated edition assembles a rich array of photographs, drawings, artefacts, film and sound recordings. An introductory essay provides historical and cultural context. The preface and epilogue provide Islander perspectives on the historical context of Haddon’s work and its significance for the future.
Anita Herle is Senior Curator (World Anthropology) at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include museum anthropology, the early history of British anthropology, art and aesthetics, with a particular interest in the Torres Strait, Vanuatu, Fiji and Canada.
Jude Philp is Senior Curator of the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney. Her research interests include museum anthropology, 19th century Pacific history, historic taxidermy, the commerce of natural history, and Pacific Islander material culture.
"The book itself is exciting to read and easily exceeds its stated goals. Having Haddon’s personal journey sitting alongside the ‘scientific’ aspects of his research provides a contextualised and balanced view of his Torres Strait experiences. The sizeable collection of images – Haddon’s black and white photographs and colour sketches, combined with high-quality colour photographs of his collected objects, now housed at Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – is an essential element to the volume’s appeal."
Liam M. Brady Australian Historical Studies
'Recording Kastom is exemplary of this quieter but committed work – part of ongoing efforts by Anita Herle and Jude Philp to reconnect Torres Strait Islanders to their heritage, and to facilitate the return of collections in many different forms to Islander communities ... This book will be equally as valuable for historians of anthropology and colonialism; scholars working in Melanesia; and the Islander descendants of Haddon's interlocutors.'
Haidy Geismar Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
“Recording Kastom is an extraordinary publication that serves well the remarkable collection of arrows, masks, adornments, figures and rain charms now held at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in the University of Cambridge. The information in Haddon’s journals gives the reader a deeper sense of context for these artefacts and fascinating insights into the region of the Pacific during a time of great change just before the dawn of the 20th century.”
Crispin Howarth Journal of the Oceanic Art Society
‘[The introduction] provides a highly informative backdrop to the Haddon journals, detailing Haddon and his family, the colonial context of Haddon’s research in Torres Strait, and a critical examination of Haddon and his team’s innovative approach to fieldwork … Recording Kastom leaves us with a very strong sense that the most important legacy of Haddon and the ‘Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits’ resides with Torres Strait Islander families of today and into the future.’
Ian McNiven Australian Archaeology
“This shift [materials re-conceived not as ‘data’ but as ‘cultural heritage’] has occurred in no small part due to the advocacy of source communities who continue to speak assertively about the value of such materials to their contemporary lives. Anita Herle and Jude Philp have taken up this challenge and via their engagements with the relevant communities they have made this important material widely accessible for the first time … Recording
Kastom will therefore become a key text for students and scholars of Australian and Pacific history, Indigenous studies, anthropology and museology.”
Jason Gibson Anthropological Forum
Size: 240 × 170 × 20 mm
b&w illustrations, b&w line drawings, colour illustrations, and line drawings
Copyright: © 2020
Publication: 01 Dec 2020
Series: Indigenous Music, Language and Performing Arts