Chris Ballard

Chris Ballard is a historian of the Pacific, having trained as an archaeologist and then anthropologist. He has conducted long-term field research in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a particular focus on eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. His current research centres on questions of cultural transmission and Indigenous historicity, temporality and narrative, and the scope for reconstructing social process in deep time through oral history. Some of the research experience that he brings to ECDI includes the history of wetland drainage and agricultural revolution in the New Guinea highlands, the transformative effects of colonialism on local systems of leadership and land tenure, and the deep history of ritual and symbolic practices, from sacred geographies to rock art.

Assoc Prof Ballard can be contacted via email.

Research area/theme
Consilience and cartographylead
Colonising Sahul
Island Melanesia after Lapitalead
Relevant publications

Ballard, C., M. Wilson, Y. Nojima, R. Matanik & R. Shing. 2020. Disaster as opportunity? Cyclone Pam and the transmission of cultural heritage. In Chris Ballard, Maëlle Calandra and Siobhan McDonnell (eds) Confronting the Naturalness of Disaster in the Pacific. Special Issue of Anthropological Forum 30(1/2): 90-107. DOI: 10.1080/00664677.2019.1647825

Ballard, C. 2020. The lizard in the volcano: narratives of the Kuwae eruption. In Eveline Dürr, Philipp Schorch and Sina Emde (eds) Experiencing Pacific Environments: Pasts, Presents, Futures. Special Issue of The Contemporary Pacific 32(1): 98-123. doi:10.1353/cp.2020.0005

Ballard, C. 2018. Pacific futurities. In Warwick Anderson, Miranda Johnson and Barbara Brookes (eds) Pacific Futures: Past and Present. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 280-293.

Ballard, C. 2014. Oceanic historicities. The Contemporary Pacific 26(1): 96-124.

Ballard, C. 2014. Technologies of transmission. HAU: journal of ethnographic theory 4(1): 511-515.

Ballard, C. & M. Wilson. 2014. Pacific monumentalism. In Helene Martinsson-Wallin and Timothy Thomas (eds) Monuments and People in the Pacific. Studies in Global Archaeology 18. Uppsala: Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, pp. 77-97. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:769726/FULLTEXT01.pdf

Ballard, C. 2010. Synthetic histories: possible futures for Papuan pasts. Reviews in Anthropology 39(4): 232-257.

Ballard, C. 2003. Writing (pre)history: narrative and archaeological explanation in the New Guinea Highlands. In Tim Denham and Chris Ballard (eds) Perspectives on the Past in the New Guinea Highlands. Special Issue of Archaeology in Oceania 38(3): 135-148. http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5002571100

Ballard, C. 1995. The force of habit: time, temporality and unconscious acts in archaeological explanation. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 6(3): 203-213.

Ballard, C. 1993. Stimulating minds to fantasy? A critical etymology for Sahul. In Mike A. Smith, Matthew Spriggs and Barry Fankhauser (eds) Sahul in Review: Pleistocene archaeology in Australia, New Guinea and Island Melanesia. Occasional Papers in Prehistory No.24. Canberra: Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University

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