School of Social Sciences
+679 32 32135
I am an English social anthropologist who joined the School of Social Sciences in February 2014. Fiji has been part of my life, however, since 1993 when I first came here to start my doctoral research. Between 1993 and 1998 I conducted 22 months of rural and urban fieldwork for my PhD in Social Anthropology at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London. During this period I was a Research Associate at the then Institute of Pacific Studies, USP, an Associate at the Fiji Museum and a Departmental Visitor at Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University.
From 2002 – 2005 I conducted a further 10 months of fieldwork in Fiji for a postdoctoral position at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, also conducting anthropological research seminars for research staff at ECREA. In 2005 and 2006 I taught anthropology at the Pacific Regional Seminary, the Catholic seminary in Fiji while also continuing my research. For a number of years I worked on climate change from faith-based perspectives in a faith-based civil society organisation in Denmark while continuing to write up my research.
My monograph, My God, My Land - Interwoven Paths of Christianity and Tradition in Fiji (Ashgate 2010), nominated for the 2012 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion, includes both my doctoral and postdoctoral research. It explores how representations of Christianity and people's beliefs and faith are interconnected and interwoven in historical relations. I conducted research among clergy and lay people in Methodist, Pentecostal, Catholic and Anglican churches and communities in rural and urban settings as well as in Interfaith Search Fiji. The book focuses on the complex relations between Christianity, tradition, politics and reconciliation, how people’s individual and communal faith experience connect with local/ national and local, regional and global perspectives. I employ an interdisciplinary perspective in my research, drawing on sources and data from anthropology, history, sociology of religion, theology, political science and geography (cf Ryle 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, in print).