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Le Moyne College Hosts Talk on Fiji

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (For Immediate Release) … Le Moyne College will host a talk by Dr. Lynda Newland on “Institutionalizing Tradition in Colonial Fiji” on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. in Grewen Auditorium.

Ideas about the indigenous Fijian relationship with land passed into orthodoxy in the colonial period to such an extent that today many Fijians define themselves in these terms. The issues that emerged around land then have become fundamental to understanding contemporary developments in Fiji. While indigenous Fijians own most of the land, descendants of Indian indentured labourers (Indo-Fijians) have farmed it. Over the last decade, the structure of rental distribution is such that Fijian landlords can no longer sustain their families through renting their land to tenant-farmers, which has resulted in massive lease expiries and the migration of Indo-Fijians off the land. The government today is concerned with the amount of unproductive land which has lain idle since the leases expired. In order to better contextualize and understand the current issues, this lecture focuses on the early colonial administration’s attempt to codify Fijian land ownership in terms of what was understood to be Fijian tradition.

Dr. Lynda Newland, a social anthropologist and senior lecturer at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, studies religion, gender, land and politics in the Pacific. She holds a doctorate in social anthropology from Macquarie University in Australia and a master’s degree from Sydney University.

The talk is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Kevin G. O’Connell Professorship in the Humanities and the Anthropology Club. For more information, call (315) 445-4364.

posted on: 10/18/2010