Recording Kastom

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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.