Wolfgang Kempf

Wolfgang Kempf
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen | GAUG · Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology

PhD

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35
Publications
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290
Citations

Publications

Publications (35)
Article
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Articulations of vulnerability, of the will to address the challenges posed by climate change, and of criticism of the international community’s inadequate efforts to limit global warming have taken many forms. In the Central Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati, songs associated with emotions are one of the artistic forms used to convey these articula...
Article
This introduction takes a critical look at the heterogeneous corpus of social science research on climate change and Christian religion. The central concern is to present analytical alternatives to the universalist-essentialising approaches which, on the basis of a supposedly inherent contradiction between science and religion, exclude or devalue C...
Article
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The inhabitants of Kiribati, an atoll state in the Central Pacific, have long been confronted with scientific scenarios of sea-level rise, inundation and displacement as a result of climate change. This article focuses on the nexus of climate change and tsunamis. While most I-Kiribati are well aware of the difference between tidal waves, caused pri...
Chapter
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In this chapter, we look at the central Pacific atoll state of Kiribati, which is considered particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change but is also characterized by its citizens’ emphasis of their potential for resilience. We argue that the inhabitants’ cultural conception of land and imaginations of the future influence how citi...
Chapter
An entire range of divine beings and spirits have existed in Kiribati from time immemorial. My focus is on a mythic landscape of invisible sites located between land and horizon. This involves a series of named sites with interrelated spatial locations, specific attributes, and groupings of divine beings, spirits and things. Some places are located...
Chapter
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In this paper we argue that songs and emotions represent modes of agency vis-à-vis climate change discourses in and about the Pacific atoll state of Kiribati. Such discourses on climate change, sea level rise, and inundation often envision the loss of land, culture, and identity. Songs in I-Kiribati culture are instruments for exercising power, whi...
Conference Paper
Christian discourses and practices are an integral part of the social perception of climate change, sea level rise and migration in Pacific Island states. The majority of social science studies, however, tend to exclude this aspect or discredit it as maladaptive. Latour’s criticism of the western practice of “purifying” or separating interconnected...
Chapter
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The international return mobility of the Banaban community has been significantly influenced by post–Second World War collective resettlement and the resulting transnational space of multiple belongings. Thus, with their politics of translocal linking of original and new home islands, the first generation of Banabans prepared the way for crossborde...
Article
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In this article we concentrate on the discursive links between climate change, migration, land, and imagined futures. We argue that the large tract of freehold land purchased by Kiribati’s government in Fiji has led citizens in both countries to develop imaginings of migration, which we interpret as building blocks for a cultural construct of the f...
Chapter
Dissemination of the actants climate change and sea-level rise in the Pacific atoll states has forged new linkages between people, things and signs. In this context, Pacific Islanders have articulated and mobilised the Biblical Noah Story qua religious-political narrative in response to scenarios of future inundation and displacement. Contra the ro...
Article
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Media representations of what climate change and sea level rise will mean for islands, or whole island states, in the Pacific usually play on the registers of impending doom, of a catastrophe in the making, of looming displacement. The media’s preference for alarmism and simplification is largely based on a combination of long-standing Western imag...
Book
Ethnographic case studies explore what it means to "belong" in Oceania, as contributors consider ongoing formations of place, self and community in connection with travelling, internal and international migration. The chapters apply the multi-dimensional concepts of movement, place-making and cultural identifications to explain contemporary life in...
Article
Full-text available
Global climate change and its consequences for humankind opens up a research field for exploring the diverse dimensions and forces of change through time. Chief among the objects of inquiry is how climatic shifts impact on ecological and social structures and developments and what human agencies are able to unfold under given conditions. Conclusion...
Chapter
Religious affiliation and its institutional expression are primarily implicated in the social and cultural construction of climate change and human mobility. Central to my analytic focus is religion’s power to shape outcomes in this relational field. The core issue concerns how religion, conceptualized as political practice, influences the nexus of...
Article
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Religion influences the process of constituting place and identity in the Pacific diaspora. The Banabans, originally from the central Pacific but relocated in 1945 to Rabi Island in Fiji, have linked a politics of emplacement and commemoration to Christian beliefs and practices. This linkage lets Banabans anchor in social memory (and so transmit to...
Chapter
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This chapter explores how memory is created by social mimesis. It looks at mimetic practices among the Banabans, a people originally from the island of Banaba in the central Pacific but relocated to Fiji in 1945. How social mimesis plays out is exemplified by ethnic performances, in which the actors embody memories. This thesis is illustrated in te...
Article
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The texture of place is the product of a historically and culturally specific nexus of relationships, often transcending by far local and regional networks. Translocal connections are unearthed by reconstructing how a certain island away to the north-east of the Fijian archipelago, Rabi Island, was progressively remade as a colonial landscape of pl...
Chapter
The first South Pacific Festival of Arts was held at Suva, Fiji, in May 1972. The western organisers’ goal was to persuade participating groups from Oceania to separate authentic ancient arts from accreted modern elements, with a view to communicating authenticity, so defined, to the audience. Thus they sought to isolate the cultural essence of eac...
Chapter
Full-text available
Mythical knowledge is capable of providing an important interpretive framework for the reconfiguration of local identity in the context of globalization. For the Ngaing in Papua New Guinea mythical narratives revolving around the hornbill evoke and confirm a moral order that is tightly bound with the gender polarity, the secret, ritual power-knowle...
Article
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Oceania has always been a place of exchanges, of contacs and interactions, in brief of movements. In this session, we have investigated the themes of ancient migration routes through computer simulation; of modes of maritime and terrestrial representations of space; and finally of the dialectic between mobility and enrootedness over the long term a...
Article
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Spatial belonging and ethnic identity among the Banabans resettled on Rabi Island in Fiji are the product of historically and culturally specific articulations and transformations. Such reconfigurations of place and ethnicity, based mainly on enmeshments between the Banabans' new island home, Rabi, and their island of origin in the Central Pacific,...
Article
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Focussing on three historically constituted domains of relations of great importance to all inhabitants of the Fiji Islands, this essay draws attention to cultural modalities and political strategies implicated in shaping these. By way of introduction to six papers which together with this preface and an epilogue are presented in the form of a coll...
Chapter
Focusing on representations of the Banaban Dancing Group's Japan tour in 1997, I look into the historical and political contextuality of travel as well as the political process of creating homeland and local community in a diaspora context. I argue that overseas tours by this dance theater group can be considered strategic movements deploying an in...
Article
Full-text available
Music and its performance are very important political instruments in the process of constituting place and homeland among the Banaban diaspora, a Micronesian community now mostly living on Rabi Island in Fiji. The central issue I address is how Banabans link locally created, contemporary music to the historical praxis of ongoing emplacement in the...
Chapter
Dreams can add much to our understanding of the genesis of spaces in an historically constituted terrain of power and knowledge. Our account treats the case of dreams that deconstruct static lines of demarcation erected between the inside and the outside, between the local and the global world, so rendering space graspable as a flexible and negotia...
Article
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In this paper I argue that the way in which masculinity and spatiality are reconstituted among the Ngaing men of Madang Province (Papua New Guinea) is pivotally implicated in how they articulate their ongoing claim to incorporation in modernity. The manner in which they strive for progress is indicative of identifications coupling Christianity and...
Article
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Träume können zum Verständnis der Entstehungsweisen von Räumen in einem historisch konstituierten Terrain von Macht und Wissen wesentlich beitragen. Unsere Ausführungen handeln von Träumen, die statische Trennlinien zwischen Innen und Aussen, zwischen lokaler und globaler Welt dekonstruieren und den Raum als flexible und verhandelbare Konstruktion...
Chapter
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The former Rhenish Mission had in 1912 and the following years appointed six Samoan pastors and their wives to assist their mission project in „Kaiser-Wilhelmsland“ of German New Guinea. This induction of Samoan Pastors into a missionization project conducted by whites was, right from the start, structured to reflect colonial hierarchies and the as...
Article
The conversion to Christianity in Melanesia has often been accompanied by the expectation of an imminent millennium. The expectation of a comprehensive and almost immediate transformation could be read as an expression of a cultural concept which sees real change as an occurrence premised on discontinuity and resulting in the total transformation o...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The purpose of this project is to explore a largely unresearched collection of more than 200 sound recordings put together in the Southern Gilbert archipelago (today Kiribati) between 1963 and 1964. The project combines theoretical and methodological perspectives from studies on the repatriation of digitized sound recordings, on the one hand, and recent approaches to the conceptualization of ethnographic collections and museums as assemblages, on the other.