Pacific Studies Initiative Syllabi & Bibliographies



Syllabi & Bibliographies

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Colonialism, Development, and the Bougainville Crisis

PACS 690, Fall 1998

University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Wednesdays, 1:30-4:20




Terence Wesley-Smith

Phone: 956 2668; e-mail:

Office: Moore 211, M 2-3:30; W 9-11:30

Eugene Ogan

Phone: 956 7700; e-mail:


The Pacific Island of Bougainville, politically part of Papua New Guinea, has been at war since disaffected landowners launched a campaign of sabotage against the giant Panguna copper and gold mine in 1988. This interdisciplinary seminar examines the origins and implications of the armed conflict, which has caused the most serious levels of human suffering and destruction in the Pacific Islands region since World War II. By focusing on the crisis, the seminar will serve to illuminate wider empirical and theoretical issues in Pacific Islands history, politics, economics, and society through readings, guest lectures, and student presentations.

Assignments and expectations

Students are expected to a) come to class prepared to discuss the issues raised in the assigned readings, b) hand in a reaction paper each week, and c) submit a term paper at the end of the semester. Grades will be assigned as follows:

Participation 10%
Reaction papers 30%
Term paper 60%

Participation: Students will take turns leading the discussion each week, presenting their "take" on the assigned readings and identifying issues and questions for further consideration.

Weekly reaction paper: Students must turn in a short (at least one double-spaced page, maximum three pages) reaction paper every week. Papers should summarise your considered response to the weekly assigned readings. The writing style doesn’t need to be formal, but the text should be coherent and easy to understand. There are no fixed rules regarding content, but you should at least indicate what you have learned from the readings, and what conceptual or other issues they raised for you. Above all, these papers should be thoughtful and indicate that you have read the material carefully and critically and have grappled with the issues raised. Papers are due by 4:30 pm on the day before class meets (ie Tuesday). You can submit via e-mail, but you must submit a hard copy version when you come to class. These weekly papers will be graded and will count for 30% of the final grade.

Term paper: Term papers must be submitted by the last day of class, 12/9. They should be double-spaced, 20-30 pages in length, and address some aspect of the Bougainville crisis. A one-page outline of the proposed paper must be submitted by Week 6 (9/30). Outlines should indicate the topic, the main issues to be discussed, and the published and other material to be used.

Reading materials

There are two assigned texts:

Douglas Oliver 1991 Black Islanders: A Personal Perspective of Bougainville 1937-1991. Honolulu: UH Press. (Available for purchase at UH Press).

Terence Wesley-Smith (ed) 1993 A Legacy of Development: Three Years of Crisis in Bougainville. Special issue of The Contemporary Pacific 4(2). (Available free of charge)

Other assigned readings will be provided in xeroxed form.

The special issue of the journal contains a bibliographic essay that lists most of the relevant materials published up to 1992. More recent materials are listed in the course outline, or can be found in the Pacific Collection, Hamilton Library. For current news stories see Pacific Islands Monthly, Islands Business, Pacific Report, and the PNG newspapers available in Hamilton. Several websites carry Bougainville-related materials, and the Coconet Wireless ( is the best source for stories carried by Australian and Pacific Islands media. It is linked to several other relevant sites.


Course Outline


Part 1: Dimensions of the crisis

Week 1 (8/26) Introduction

Seminar overview and expectations

Week 2 (9/2): A Pacific island at war, 1988-98

Overview of the crisis and some of its impacts

Sean Dorney 1990 Bougainville--Land Rights or Secession? Chapter Five in Papua New Guinea: People Politics and History Since 1975. Milsons Point, NSW: Random House Australia. 117-149

Matthew Spriggs and Ron May 1990 Postscript : August 1990. In May and Spriggs 1990 The Bougainville Crisis. Bathurst, NSW: Crawford House Press. 113-118. (Contains text of Declaration of Independence: Republic of Bougainville).

Tarcisius Kabutaulaka 1994 Cohesion and Disorder in Melanesia: The Bougainville Conflict and the Melanesian Way. In Busch, Crocombe et al (eds) New Politics in the South Pacific. Rarotonga and Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific. 63-82

Anthony J. Regan 1998 Towards Peace for Bougainville? Asia-Pacific Magazine #9/10, 12-16.

`Atu Emberson-Bain 1993 Cries from the Mothers of the Land. Development: Journal of the Society for International Development 4: 41-43.

Part 2: Colonial origins

Week 3 (9/9): Environment, culture and history

Some backround information about the island of Bougainville, its peoples, and their experience with colonialism.

Douglas Oliver 1991 Black Islanders: A Personal Perspective of Bougainville 1937-1991. Chapters 1-5, pp 1-77

Eugene Ogan 1991 The Cultural Background to the Bougainville Crisis. Journal de la Societe des Oceanistes 92-93(1-2): 61-67.

Matthew Spriggs 1992 Alternative Prehistories for Bougainville: Regional, National, or Micronational. The Contemporary Pacific 4(2): 269-298.

Week 4 (9/16): The mine and its impacts

The establishment of the giant Panguna copper and gold mine, and a discussion of some reactions, impacts and issues.

John Connell 1991 Compensation and Conflict: The Bougainville Copper Mine, Papua New Guinea. In Connell and Howitt (eds) Mining and Indigenous Peoples in Australasia. Sydney University Press. 54-75.

J. Dove, T. Miriung, M. Togolo 1974 Mining Bitterness. In Peter Sack (ed) Problem of Choice: Land In Papua New Guinea’s Future. Canberra: Australian National University Press. 180-189.

J. Momis 1974 Taming the Dragon. In Sack Problem of Choice. 190-199.

Paul Quodling 1991 Bougainville: The Mine and the People. St Leonards, NSW: The Centre for Independent Studies, Pacific Papers 3. Chapters 1-7, pp 1-45.

Week 5 (9/23): Economic and social change

(library session 3-4:20)

A discussion of social change in Bougainville up to the late 1980s, with particular reference to different forms of colonialism.

Note: Second part of the class (3-4:20) will be a discussion of sources and how to access them at Hamilton Library

Douglas Oliver 1991 Black Islanders: A Personal Perspective of Bougainville 1937-1991. Chapter 6, 78-91.

Eugene Ogan 1996 Copra came before Copper: The Nasioi of Bougainville and Plantation Colonialism 1902-1964. Pacific Studies,

Donald Mitchell 1982 Frozen Assets in Nagovisi? Oceania 53: 56-66.

"Caspar Luana" 1969 Buka! New Guinea 4: 15-20

Part 3: Causes and explanations

Week 6 (9/30): Ethnonationalism ***term paper outline due***

Ethnic nationalism as a factor in the Bougainville crisis. To what extent has the crisis been driven by a strong sense among Bougainvilleans that they are different from other Papua New Guineans and should form their own independent state?

James Griffin 1990 Bougainville is a Special Case. In May and Spriggs (eds) The Bougainville Crisis. Bathurst, Crawford House Press: 1-15

Leo Hannett 1975 The Case for Bougainville Secession. Meanjin Quarterly 34(3): 286-293

Jill Nash and Eugene Ogan 1990 The Red and the Black: Bougainvillean Perceptions of Other Papua New Guineans. Pacific Studies 13(2): 1-17.

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs 1992 The Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The Contemporary Pacific 4(2): 355-359.

Charles Lepani 1992 Statement to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations. The Contemporary Pacific 4(2): 360-367.

Week 7 (10/7): Social disintegration

To what extent has the crisis been fueled by the negative impacts of large scale mining on social structures and institutions? A look at Filer’s arguments about "social disintegration" in Bougainville.

Colin Filer 1990 The Bougainville Rebellion, The Mining Industry and the Process of Social Disintegration in Papua New Guinea. In May and Spriggs (eds) The Bougainville Criss. Bathurst: Crawford House Press: 73-112.

Colin Filer 1992 The Escalation of Disintegration and the Reinvention of Authority. In Spriggs and Denoon (eds) The Bougainville Crisis: 1991 Update. Canberra: Political and Social Change Monograph 16. 112-140.

Moses Havini 1992 A Bougainvillean Perspective on the Crisis. In Spriggs and Denoon, 161-169.

Week 8 (10/14): Development, class, and conflict

Social class and other inequalities as factors in the origins of the crisis.

Terence Wesley-Smith and Eugene Ogan 1992 Copper, Class, and Crisis: Changing Relations of Production in Bougainville. The Contemporary Pacific 4(2): 245-267.

Anthony Regan forthcoming 1998 Causes and Course of the Bougainville Conflict. Journal of Pacific History.

Part 4: Consequences

Week 9 (10/21): Military aspects of the crisis

The course and conduct of the war by the PNG Defence Force, the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, "Resistance" forces, and other armed groups.

Yauka Aluambo Liria 1993 "The Rebel" and "The Soldier", Chapters 6 and 7 in Bougainville Campaign Diary. Elthan North, Victoria: Indra Publishing: 70-103

Ron May, Anthony Regan and Sinclair Dinnen 1997 Introduction. Dinnen, May and Regan (eds) Challenging the State: The Sandline Affair in Papua New Guinea. Canberra: National Centre for Development Studies. 1-8

Sinclair Dinnen 1997 Mercenaries, Mines and Politics: Papua New Guinea’s Sandline Affair. Asia-Pacific Magazine #2, 13-16

Anthony Regan 1997 Preparations for War and Progress Towards Peace--Bougainville Dimensions of the Sandline Crisis. In Dinnen, May and Regan, 49-72

Tarcissius Kabutaulaka 1997 Political Siege in Papua New Guinea and the Role of the Military in Melanesia. In Dinnen, May and Regan, 129-135.

Mike Forster 1992 The Bougainville Revolutionary Army. The Contemporary Pacific 4 (2): 368-372.

Week 10 (10/28): Social, economic, cultural, and political consequences

Some impacts of the war on individuals, families, and communities in Bougainville.

Commonwealth of Australia 1994 Bougainville: A Pacific Solution. Report of the Australian Parliamentary Delegation to Bougainville 18-22 April. Chapter 3 "Security and Prospects for Peace" and Chapter 4 "Restoration and Rehabilitation", pp 17-33.

Naomi Sharp 1997 Bougainville: Blood on Our Hands. Australia’s Role in PNG’s War. Woollahra, NSW: Aid Watch. Part 2 Conditions in Bougainville During the War, pp 15-20.

Amnesty International 1993 Under the Barrel of a Gun: Bougainville 1991-1993.

Ruby Mirinka 1994 "Development Distortions: The Case of Bougainville" and "‘Our Mothers and Children are Dying’: Military Offensives Against the Island of Bougainville". In `Atu Emberson-Bain (ed) Sustainable Development or Malignant Growth? Perspectives of Pacific Island Women. Suva, Fiji: Marama Publications.

Archbishop Karl Hesse 1994 Update on the Bougainville Situation, April 1994. Report to the Annual General Meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Hohola, NCD, Papua New Guinea.

Week 11 (11/4): Regional attitudes and responses

"Spillover" effects of the crisis, with particular reference to the involvement of Australia and Solomon Islands.

Naomi Sharp 1997 Bougainville: Blood on our Hands. Australia’s Role in PNG’s War. Part 3 Military Funding and Part 4 Development Assistance, pp 20-33.

Michael Thawley 1992 The Bougainville Crisis Two Years On: Australian Policy. In Spriggs and Denoon (eds) The Bougainville Crisis: 1991 Update. pp146-151.

Tarcissius Kabutaulaka (No Date) "The Nation Next Door: The Bougainville Crisis and the Solomon Islands". Unpublished paper.

Week 12 (11/11) Holiday

Part 5: Proposed Solutions

Week 13 (11/18): Actors, interests, and issues

Who are the main parties to the conflict in 1998? What does each have at stake and hope to achieve? What key issues divide the parties and remain to be resolved?

Anthony Regan 1998 Towards Peace for Bougainville? Asia-Pacific Magazine #9/10, 12-16.

Week 14 (11/25): Peace initiatives

Various efforts to negotiate peace during the last decade.

James Griffin 1996 Stalemate on Bougainville. New Asia-Pacific Review #?, 22-25.

The Burnham Declaration by Bougainville Leaders on the Re-establishment of a Process for Lasting Peace and Justice on Bougainville, July 5-18, 1997.

Graeme Kemelfield 1990 A Short History of the Bougainville Ceasefire Initiative. In May and Spriggs (eds) The Bougainville Crisis. 62-72.

Graeme Kemelfield 1991. Reflections on the Bougainville Conflict: Underlying Causes and Conditions for Resolution. In Spriggs and Denoon (eds) The Bougainville Crisis: 1991 Update. 152-160.

Matthew Spriggs 1994 The Failure of the Bougainville Peace Talks. Pacific Research 7(4): 19-23.

Part 6: Conclusion

Week 15 (12/2): Future prospects

Week 16 (12/9): Reflection and review


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