THE TROBRIANDERS OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA
As an undergraduate Arts student at the University of Western Australia, majoring in history and anthropology, I read Annette Weiner’s 1988 ethnography The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston. This book revisited the islanders made famous by the founding father of anthropology, Bronislaw Malinowski. By concentrating on the women and their worldview, Weiner revealed major misunderstandings inherent in Malinowski’s analysis, recasting anthropological understanding of Trobriand culture and political economy. This book influenced me politically and methodologically by demonstrating how accepted beliefs can be challenged by women’s accounts. This insight, and the qualitative methods that Weiner used in her study contributed to my commitment to feminist theory and method. Women’s voices have the potential to change how we view the world. We just need to listen.