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First Contact with God: Individualism, Agency, and Revivalism in the Duke of York Islands

Peer Reviewed

Essay Excerpt

“In this article, we wish to explore what we see as one (among many) of the delayed consequences of these first-contact encounters. With the emergence of Papua New Guinea as a nation-state, some of the descendants of those who were so contacted have adopted a stance toward history and person—toward event—such that they have come to see themselves as critical commentators on, and heroic transformers of, the social field. Specifically, we discuss the presence in the Duke of York Islands of a contingent of evangelical Christians who, relative to their neighbors and kin, have come to see themselves in important respects as both experiencing and propagating George Brown's first-contact encounters with their benighted ancestors. As we shall see, these evangelicals believed, with Brown, that their Duke of York neighbors were locked in anachronism—locked in an outmoded past. And they believed that they could assist them to progress, to become free.”

“First Contact with God: Individualism, Agency, and Revivalism in the Duke of York Islands,” by Deborah Gewertz and Frederick Errington (1993, 280).

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