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Fire on the Island: Fear, Hope and a Christian Revival in Vanuatu

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Volume 13

ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology

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Fire on the Island

Fear, Hope and a Christian Revival in Vanuatu

Tom Bratrud

276 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-464-7 $120.00/£89.00 / Hb / Not Yet Published (April 2022)

eISBN 978-1-80073-465-4 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - edit   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Students and scholars of the Pacific will appreciate this clearly written monograph. It adds to a growing literature on contemporary Christianities, social movements, personhood, and sorcery in postcolonial communities. Bratrud frames the story as one of an anxious balance between people’s hopes and fears. What drives people to desire and animate change in their lives?” • Lamont Lindstrom, University of Tulsa

“This story is one of the few modern anthropological accounts which has an example of what I would call witchcraft accusation (in this case, sorcery accusation) with a terrible outcome in which the anthropologist has been intimately involved. It is an amazing story. It is a remarkable book. There is nothing like it out there.” • Tanya Luhrmann, Stanford University


In 2014, the island of Ahamb in Vanuatu became the scene of a startling Christian revival movement led by thirty children with ‘spiritual vision’. However, it ended dramatically when two men believed to be sorcerers and responsible for much of the society’s problems were hung by persons fearing for the island’s future security. Based on twenty months of ethnographic fieldwork on Ahamb between 2010 and 2017, this book investigates how upheavals like the Ahamb revival can emerge to address and sometimes resolve social problems, but also carry risks of exacerbating the same problems they arise to address.

Tom Bratrud is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo. He has conducted research in Vanuatu for over ten years and published articles on religion, politics and social life in various journals, including Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute and Ethnos.

Subject: Anthropology of Religion Anthropology (General)
Area: Asia-Pacific


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