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Grant number: FZ-231375-15

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FZ-231375-15

Christina Abbott Thompson
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)

The Wonder Story of the World: How the Islands of Polynesia Were Settled and How We Know

A book on the colonization of the Pacific, combining research from the fields of history, mythology, anthropology, and linguistics.

"The Wonder Story of the World" is a book about the settlement of Polynesia by the ancient voyagers of the Pacific. Combining research in several different fields—from history and mythology to anthropology and linguistics—it traces attempts to solve what was long known as "The Problem of Polynesian Origins." When Europeans first reached the Pacific, they were amazed to discover people on even the remotest islands. Over the course of the next several hundred years, various scenarios were envisioned: that the islanders were the remnants of a lost civilization, that they were Aryans, or American Indians, or descendants of ocean-going migrants from Taiwan. This book tells the story of these and other theories, of the evidence for them, and of the contexts in which they arose. It is a study in historical problem-solving which takes as its starting point one of the most extraordinary chapters in human history: the Polynesian colonization of the largest ocean in the world.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Area Studies; Cultural History

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$46,200 (approved)
$46,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 8/31/2016