Engendering Persons, Transforming Things: Christianities, Commodities and Individualism in Oceania is a five-year Laureate projected awarded by the Australian Research Council to Professor Margaret Jolly within the School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University. It addresses a profound and long-debated question about the historical interaction between Oceanic and western constructs of the person and contemporary controversies about the role of Christianity in the emergence of modern individualism. It is distinctive in linking the gender of persons with gendered things. It critically evaluates the role of Christianity in relation to processes of individuation emergent from the commoditisation of land, labour and consumption, biomedical systems of health and introduced legal regimes. It will significantly enhance Australia's research capacity as well as its cultural understanding and delivery of development assistance in the region, with particular regard to gender justice, law and health.
The team of staff and students is working across the region in the countries of Vanuatu (Margaret Jolly, Latu Latai), Papua New Guinea (Katherine Lepani, Latu Latai), including the autonomous region of Bougainville (Anna-Karina Hermkens), Solomon Islands (Anna-Karina Hermkens), Banaba and transnational Oceania (Katerina Teaiwa), Samoa (Latu Latai), New Zealand (Areti Metuamate) and Hawai'i (Marata Tamaira).