Human Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 445–447 | Cite as

Damon, Frederick H.: Trees, Knots, and Outriggers. Environmental Knowledge in the Northeast Kula Ring

New York: Berghahn Books 2017. ISBN 978-1-78533-320-0 (paperback). xiv+375pages, index, online photographic essay
  • James Leach

Frederick H. Damon is well known as a cultural anthropologist adept at conveying the meaning of Melanesian symbolic schemas. Taking up a different challenge several decades ago, Damon embarked on the project of understanding the technical and ecological knowledge of Massim cultures. Trees, Knots, and Outriggers relates the journey, and the findings, of this endeavour. Damon sets out how he met the challenge of engaging ethnographically with local understandings of land management, gardening, and sailing technologies, in part, by drawing on (and drawing in) climate, soil and botanical scientists to help parse the practices and ‘collective representations’ of people located in this region of island Melanesia.

Damon’s title is indicative of the way he chose to approach the topic. His definition of the area is by cultural practice ‘the Northeastern Kula Ring,’ not by geographical location, soil types, or climatic zone. The ‘Kula Ring’ (as all first-year anthropology students know) has...


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The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, EHESS, CREDO (UMR 7308)MarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Maison Asie PacifiqueMarseilleFrance
  3. 3.The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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