The Polynesians: Anthropological Perspectives
The Polynesians make up a family of related cultures whoseancestors discovered and settled the islands within a vast triangular region of the Pacific Ocean, with apices at Hawai'i, New Zealand, and Easter Island. The origins and migrations of the early Polynesians puzzled explorers and scholars during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and became the subject of serious anthropological study in the twentieth century.
Bringing to bear the different perspectives of archaeology, comparative ethnography, biological anthropology, and linguistics, scholars have shed an increasingly clear light on the story of the remarkable Polynesian diaspora—and of the subsequent evolution of these island cultures. This seminar will explore these different approaches within anthropology and how they have unraveled the history of the Polynesian peoples. This is a Course Threads Theme Seminar.