Von Hügel Lecture


Von Hugel Lecture Image_forwebTuesday 4 March 2014, 5.00 – 6.00pm
Mill Lane Lecture Theatre 9

Professor Steven Hooper
Fijian Journeys: von Hügel, chiefs, culture and canoes

In 1875, at the age of twenty, the impetuous “young chief ” Baron Anatole von Hügel was left unexpectedly in Fiji by the Methodist Mission ship in which he had sailed from Sydney. He quickly became interested in what now would be called Fijian culture, and during a stay of two and a half years made several journeys to different parts of the group. He befriended Fijians and colonials alike and amassed a large ethnological collection, much of it now in Cambridge.

This lecture will explore the relationships that von Hügel developed and the nature of chiefship in Fiji. It will also analyse some of the artefacts he brought back to the UK, notably those made of whale ivory. Finally, reflections will be offered on the continuing significance of canoes, from models collected by von Hügel to a recent revival that saw ten outriggers racing on Suva harbour in August 2013.

Professor Hooper is a Cambridge alumnus who attended St John’s College from 1974 to 1981 and is currently Principal Investigator of an AHRC-funded research project on Fijian art, in collaboration with colleagues at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. As Director of the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the University of East Anglia, his main interests cover the relationship between Polynesian material culture, chiefship, and ethnographical museums. He has conducted over three years of research in Fiji and with Jane Roth was co-editor of The Fiji Journals of Baron von Hügel 1875-77 (1990).

Please reserve your place by emailing rsvp@maa.cam.ac.uk

There will be a drinks reception at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology after the lecture.

The exhibition Chiefs & Governors: Art and Power in Fiji continues at the Museum until 19 April 2014. 

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