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Oral Tradition in Melanesia

CollectionsANU Pacific Institute
Title: Oral Tradition in Melanesia
Author(s): Denoon, Donald
Lacey, Roderic
Publisher: Port Moresby, PNG : University of Papua New Guinea
Historians used to be interested mainly in the actions and ideas of a few powerful men . Until the Pacific War ended, and many former colonial territories became independent , those few powerful men were European political and military leaders , who wrote books, kept diaries, and corresponded with other people like themselves . Historians , often literate Europeans themselves , were content to reconstruct the past using the written remains of their heroes . Three related events have changed this situation. Socialist parties came to power in many countries since 1 9 1 7 , and gave greater importance to ordinary workers and peasants , than they had enjoyed before . The independence of many colonies after 1 947 also placed power in the hands of non-Europeans, and gave greater status to ex-colonial people . Finally , the growth of Sociology and Anthropology in the twentieth century made it clear that ordinary people were just as interesting as political leaders, as subjects for scholarship.


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